Gov. Kelly, Sen. Denning make pitch for Medicaid expansion compromise

Sen. Jim Denning (center) of Overland Park and Gov. Laura Kelly (in red jacket) made two appearances together in Wichita Monday to promote their proposed Medicaid expansion deal. Photo via Gov. Laura Kelly's Twitter account.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and Sen. Majority Leader Jim Denning of Overland Park made joint appearances at two events in Wichita today as part of an effort to publicize their proposed compromise on Medicaid expansion.

Proponents of the deal, which would expand access to healthcare coverage for 150,000 Kansas, had high hopes for the bipartisan deal heading into this legislative session. But Republican legislative leaders in both the House and Senate have held up consideration of the bill until the passage of the “Protect them Both” bill, which would put a Constitutional amendment about the Supreme Court’s ability to weigh in on abortion access issues before Kansas voters.

In the events today, Kelly argued that expanding access to healthcare coverage was a moral issue and encouraged legislators to bring the bill up for a vote.

“We should not be playing political games when lives are on the line. We have a moral obligation to make sure Kansans are receiving access to affordable healthcare,” Kelly said.

Denning highlighted parts of the plan that he said could be expected to improve pricing in the private insurance market.

“Not only does the compromise expand access to healthcare to those without insurance, it is also designed to lower the cost of private insurance and expand mental health services across the state,” Denning said.

Denning and Kelly’s push comes two days before the legislature reconvenes for the remainder of the 2020 regular session on Wednesday.