Kansas Reflector: Billions of dollars for Medicaid expansion dangled in front of holdout states

By Daniel C. Vock | Feb. 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. House Democrats are trying again to entice a dozen holdout states — including Kansas — to expand Medicaid coverage with the prospect of billions of dollars in federal cash.

The new offer, included in a massive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that House Democrats are pushing through committees this week, could help provide health coverage to more than 2 million Americans. They are falling between the cracks in government programs in the midst of the pandemic and economic downturn.

Most are childless adults who earn some money but still fall below the federal poverty level.

In the vast majority of states, people in that situation could qualify for Medicaid, a public program that provides health insurance to low-income people and people with disabilities.

But in 14 states that have not yet expanded Medicaid, they are still ineligible for that program. Meanwhile, they are still too poor to get subsidized private coverage through insurance exchanges.

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