By Sherman Smith | May 15, 2019

A rift between Republican factions in the Kansas Legislature and pressure applied by Gov. Laura Kelly threaten a tenuous agreement to produce a Medicaid expansion plan this year and vote on the legislation in January.

Medicaid expansion supporters in the House are frustrated that Senate leadership intends to craft the legislation without them, using an interim panel exclusive to senators.

The moderate Republicans are concerned about caveats that could be attached to the plan, such as work requirements or a tiered fee structure, and a showdown looms with Kelly and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning both insisting they will write the guidelines that go to the federal government for approval.

Those guidelines, known as waivers, provide the framework for expanding eligibility to KanCare, as Medicaid is known in Kansas, and any proposed restrictions on the estimated 130,000 low-income adults and children who would gain coverage.

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