Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly repeated her demand Wednesday to extend Medicaid and challenged an expected single-rate flat income tax for people with a pledge to lower taxes by expediting the phasing out of the grocery sales tax.
Kelly said in her annual State of the State address that her recommendations, which include fixing dropping water levels in a huge aquifer used to irrigate agriculture, are crucial to aiding rural areas.
Medicaid expansion has failed in the Republican-controlled Legislature. She acknowledged rural hospitals' obstacles as she attempted again after five years of failing to deliver state health coverage to 150,000 more individuals.
They say Medicaid expansion is not a silver bullet for our rural hospitals,” she remarked. “You know? As agreed. It won't address all rural health care problems, but it's a crucial step. We need it to fix the problem.
The Governor should realize that Medicaid expansion is not free! Who pays? You and me! "Those costs are passed on to them," he said, adding, “Limited resources should be reserved for the truly needy instead of siphoning them away to able-bodied adults who don't want to work and have other health care options.”
The 2010 Affordable Care Act guarantees federal funding to pay 90% of additional Medicaid expenditures, but Kansas is one of 10 states that has not expanded Medicaid. Georgia and Mississippi have prominent Republicans eager to debate expansion this year, so the concept isn't dead.
Small-government views and decades of social service skepticism fuel conservative resistance in Kansas. The federal government is also giving non-expansion states more money. North Carolina GOP lawmakers needed a $1.8 billion two-year pledge. Kelly's administration predicts a $370–$450 million benefit for Kansas. Kelly faces GOP supermajorities that want to decrease income and local property taxes, not Medicaid.
Her tax cut proposal, which she said was better than Republicans' flat personal income tax, would eliminate Social Security income taxes, increase the standard deduction for all Kansans, reduce property taxes, and create a back-to-school sales tax holiday. This Monday, she and two Republican state senators and a conservative independent senator revealed the idea.
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