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Medicaid expansion is a 'moral imperative' for Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly is seen shaking a man's hand. Several other people are seen in the background.
Kansas Governor's Office
Gov. Laura Kelly is touring the state for her "Healthy Workers, Healthy Economy" tour in an effort garner support for Medicaid expansion.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly says her top priority for the 2024 legislative session is passing Medicaid expansion. But the Democratic governor is up against Republican super-majorities in the House and Senate. Kelly spoke on KCUR's Up To Date about how she plans to make it happen.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is traveling the state in an effort to drum up support for Medicaid expansion ahead of Kansas' 2024 legislative session. Kansas is one of only 10 states that have declined to pass Medicaid expansion, losing out on billions of dollars in federal aid money.

Speaking on KCUR's Up To Date, Kelly said that passing Medicaid expansion for Kansans is "my moral imperative." She said that it would not only provide health care access to an estimated 150,000 Kansans, but also create more than 20,000 jobs and long-term savings for the state.

However, Republican state leadership have vowed to fight Medicaid expansion, instead prioritizing a flat tax. Kelly previously vetoed the flat tax, which would overwhelmingly benefit the rich, and said she is not willing to negotiate on the two pieces of impending legislation.

"Why would I trade an irresponsible tax plan, which will decimate state revenues, in exchange for Medicaid expansion, which will require the expenditure of state revenues?" Kelly said. "It doesn't make any sense and I won't do it."

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