Kan. Senate passes bill barring Medicaid expansion

Kansas state Rep. Brian Whipple, left, a Wichita Democrat, confers with House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat, during a House debate on a bill to bring Kansas into a compact with other states seeking to exempt themselves from the federal health care law, Friday, March 21, 2014, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Democrats see the bill as political symbolism. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Republican-dominated Kansas Senate wants to indefinitely extend a ban on expanding the state’s Medicaid program in line with the federal health care overhaul.

Senators approved a bill on a 33-7 vote Tuesday night saying the state couldn’t expand Medicaid unless the Legislature approves the policy. The measure goes to the House.

A ban included last year in budget legislation is set to expire with the appropriations law in July 2015.

Medicaid provides health coverage for the needy and disabled. Supporters note that an expansion would help thousands of poor, working Kansans and that the federal government promises to pick up most of the cost.

But GOP lawmakers see the 2010 federal health care law championed by Democratic President Barack Obama as burdensome and likely to harm the economy.

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