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The Latest: Senate GOP blocks move to debate Medicaid

May 1, 2019
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In this Monday, April 29, 2019, photo, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly answers questions about Medicaid expansion during an interview with The Associated Press in her Statehouse office in Topeka, Kansas. Kelly says arguments by top Republican legislative leaders that lawmakers need more time to work on an expansion plan are "just a stall tactic." (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on legislative efforts to expand Medicaid in Kansas (all times local):

11:20 a.m.

Republicans have blocked a move in the Kansas Senate to expedite a debate on Medicaid expansion.

The vote Wednesday was 23-13 to pull an expansion bill from committee, one vote short of the 24 needed.

The House passed the bill in March but the Republican-controlled Senate has not acted on it.

Medicaid expansion is one of new Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s priorities. Her plan for expanding Medicaid health coverage to up to 150,000 additional Kansas residents is based on a bill that passed in 2017 with bipartisan support, only to be vetoed by then-Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican.

GOP leaders say they want to wait until next year to vote on an expansion plan and that Kelly is trying to rush the debate.

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11: 10 p.m.

Supporters of expanding Medicaid in Kansas are looking to block passage of the state’s next annual budget to force an expansion plan through the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Legislators were set to reconvene Wednesday after an annual spring break.

The state Senate expected to vote quickly on expediting an expansion debate. The House approved the measure in March, but the Senate has yet to act on it.

Top Republicans want to delay action until next year.

Supporters weren’t sure they could pull an expansion bill out of the Senate committee where it’s been stuck. That has them focusing on the alternative of tying up the $18 billion-plus budget that lawmakers must pass to keep state government operating after June.

House Democratic Leader Tom Sawyer calls the budget “the best leverage we have right now.”