"Jesus Would Expand Medicaid" Protesters Urge Expansion

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-- Urging lawmakers to expand Medicaid and accept federal funding through the Affordable Care Act was the focus of a rally Monday afternoon.

Around 40 Kansans gathered inside the Capitol rotunda pleading for Governor Brownback and the legislature to help Kansans caught in a health care gap.

Thousands of Kansas are caught in a gap between current Medicaid guidelines and coverage through theAaffordable Care Act.

One rally supporter, Lori Lawrence said, "It's vital. I know neighbors and people in my community that don't have health coverage and have bad health conditions and need help but can't afford it. It needs to happen now."

Some lawmakers hope to bring the discussion to the table. Democratic House Representative of the 86th District, Jim Ward said, "It's critical because every other legislation in the country is talking about it, yet in Kansas, we bury our head into the sand and won't talk about it. Thats bad policy, that's bad democracy.

A provision of the Affordable Care Act allows states to expand Medicaid and receive funding from the federal government to do so.

Kansas is among 25 states declining, but rally supporters aren't giving in just yet.

"You have to fight. If you don't try, nothing is going to happen so i'm fighting," said Lawrence.

Supporters of Medicaid expansion believe it will benefit over 150,000 Kansans, would be a win-win for the state and goes above and beyond political lines.

"I am open to any idea, at the end of the day, I just want to know how many Kansans can we help and are we effective with our health care dollars. I don't think that is too much to ask for legislation right now," said Ward.

There is currently no proposal for expanding Medicaid introduced in the legislature this year.

Governor Brownback has not endorsed medicaid expansion, saying the state needs to focus on reducing waiting lists on those who already qualify for services.