Motion to Vote on Medicaid Expansion
Made in the Senate: Here’s What They’re Saying

– On Friday, Senate Democratic Minority Leader Dinah Sykes made a motion to pull Governor Laura Kelly’s bipartisan Medicaid expansion proposal, SB 355, out of committee and onto the Senate floor. When the Kansas Legislature reconvenes on April 26, every senator will have the opportunity to vote on Medicaid expansion. This motion follows hearings held last month in the House Health and Human Services Committee and the joint session of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee and Senate Ways and Means Committee.

“Last week’s motion will provide an opportunity for a vote to bring the Cutting Healthcare Costs for All Kansans Act directly to the floor for a debate and a vote when the legislature returns on April 26,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Over 70% of Kansans want to expand Medicaid. Now is the time to make your voices heard.”

Here’s what they’re saying:

“The overnight motion in the Senate is a direct result of the outcry from everyday Kansans demanding Medicaid expansion. Thousands of Kansans have reached out to their legislators in support of this policy and more than 400 organizations and individuals submitted testimony supporting expansion during hearings in the Kansas Senate and House this legislative session. Kansas senators have an opportunity to demonstrate their respect for the democratic process and the will of their constituents by taking action to fully debate Medicaid expansion.”
—April Holman, Executive Director, Alliance for a Healthy Kansas

“By not voting on and passing Medicaid expansion, the Kansas Legislature failed to do their job. They left town without taking action to protect rural hospitals and failed to bring down health care costs for Kansans. Thankfully, the senate will be forced to vote on expansion when they reconvene.”
—David Jordan, President and CEO, United Methodist Health Ministry Fund

“Kansas legislators have sent billions of our tax dollars sent over $6 billion of our taxes to other states to pay for their health care. It is time to bring that investment home and vote on Medicaid expansion. This is NOT a procedural vote – it will be considered a vote for or against Medicaid expansion. I urge every Kansan to call their senator to emphasize that a vote for this bill is a vote to protect health and shared prosperity across the entire state.”
—McClain Bryant Macklin, Vice President of Policy and Impact, Health Forward Foundation

“Medicaid expansion will help the entire state of Kansas. Over 106,000 adults and 45,000 children would receive health care coverage and will be able to address their medical needs. Hospitals will be alleviated of the burden of uncompensated care and will be more likely to remain open in rural areas of the state. And billions of federal tax dollars that we have sent to Washington, D.C. will come back to Kansas to support our economy.”
—Dr. Donna Ginther, Director of the Institute for Policy and Social Research, University of Kansas

“Expanding Medicaid would make nearly 8,000 of our neighbors in Johnson County eligible for affordable health care, including mental health and substance use treatment services. Too many for too long have not had access to affordable, sustainable behavioral health care. Supporting this motion is an important step toward empowering them to reach out for the help they need.”
—Tim DeWeese, Director, Johnson County Mental Health Center

“Kansans have stated they are ready for a solution on the issue of Medicaid expansion, and they deserve to know where their elected representatives stand. A vote in favor of this lifesaving and economically sound legislation—overwhelmingly supported by the public, health providers, law enforcement, and business owners—will improve health across our state and dispel the growing sentiment that legislators are out of touch with the struggles of everyday Kansans.”
—Brenda Sharpe, President and CEO, REACH Healthcare Foundation

“The United Food and Retail Workers (UFCW) District Union Local Two represents over 11,000 workers in Kansas’ meatpacking, food processing, and retail industries. The union supports Governor Kelly’s efforts to expand Medicaid in the state. The union has witnessed firsthand how its hardworking members, particularly those in rural areas, struggle to obtain adequate and specialized health care services in their towns despite having health care insurance secured through bargaining contracts. The lack of access to timely and adequate health care services should not be considered the norm, but a concerning reality. It’s now up to our State Senators to support SB 355 and reverse this trend.”
—Monica Vargas-Huertas, Political and Special Projects Director, United Food and Retails Workers District Union Local Two

“Debating and voting is the core activity of being a legislator. For the first time in years, we’ll have a vote on the floor that is related to Medicaid expansion.  A vote to bring SB 355 out of committee is a vote for real debate and action on the best comprehensive strategy available to ensure more Kansans have adequate health care.”
—Ed O’Malley, President and CEO, Kansas Health Foundation

“Medicaid expansion is an issue most Kansans, including 83% of small business owners, overwhelmingly support. As such, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce strongly supports the successful passage of the Cutting Healthcare Costs for All Kansans Act (SB 355). Medicaid expansion has the potential to add 23,000 jobs in the first year of expansion, and an additional 150,000 Kansans would benefit from coverage. Now is the time for Kansas to join 40 other states, including every bordering state, in delivering health care savings to its residents through passage of SB 355.”
—Joe Reardon, President and CEO, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

“Kansas hospitals recognize the importance of ensuring Kansans have access to health insurance coverage. While we are appreciative there were legislative hearings to discuss this important policy, we hope the full legislature will have the opportunity to discuss a Kansas solution to Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion is another program that not only helps Kansans but assists Kansas hospitals and communities in retaining medical professionals and health care services in our state.”
—Chad Austin, President and CEO, Kansas Hospital Association

“We know that preventing [sudden cardiac arrest] is often possible with access to ongoing primary and preventative care, and quality follow up care improves outcomes and prevents long-term disability. Unfortunately, many Kansans have been unnecessarily denied this lifesaving care as the legislature has refused to act by expanding Medicaid. We encourage the Kansas Senate to continue to move this policy forward by any means necessary.”
—Nancy Holland, Chair, Kansas Advocacy Committee, American Heart Association

“The cost of uncompensated care is putting excessive strain on our health care system and driving increased health care costs for everyone. We believe it is important for the legislature to have a robust conversation about the merits of [Medicaid] expansion.”
—Tracey Osborne Oltjen, President and CEO, Overland Park Chamber of Commerce