Gov. Kelly continues push for Medicaid Expansion in veto of “Junk Insurance Bill”

Gov. Laura Kelly, D-Kansas, speaks with reporters at the Statehouse, May 13, 2021.
Gov. Laura Kelly, D-Kansas, speaks with reporters at the Statehouse, May 13, 2021.
Published: May. 20, 2021 at 1:32 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Governor Laura Kelly has vetoed Senate Bill 29, which would have provided short-term, limited-duration health plans for Kansas.

Senate Bill 29, Providing for short-term, limited-duration health plans, was approved by the Senate with a 29 - 11 vote on Friday, May 14. The bill was an amendment to K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 40-2,193 and would have shortened the limited duration to less than one year with extensions available for up to three years.

S.B. 20 would also have eliminated specially designed policies from the legislation, which would have included policies designed to give sickness and accident insurance for benefits or services such as chiropractic plans, acupuncture coverage plans, holistic medical treatment plans, podiatrist plans, psychiatric plans, allergy plans and other standalone or combination plans.

“We already know the solution to provide health care for 165,000 Kansans, bring thousands of jobs to our state, save small businesses money, protect rural hospitals, and inject millions into our economy is to expand Medicaid.

Junk insurance – which doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions or provide consumer protections – is just that, “junk.” Signing this bill would cause more Kansas families to go bankrupt over medical bills. If the Legislature wants to get serious about improving access to health care, they should join 38 other states and the District of Columbia and pass Medicaid expansion.

Therefore, under Article 2, Section 14(a) of the Constitution, I hereby veto Senate Bill 29.”

Gov. Laura Kelly (D)

Kansas Democratic leadership echoed the governor’s comments shortly thereafter.

“A healthy Kansas is a productive Kansas, and Kansas Democrats have time and again proposed a proven way to make Kansas a healthier, more productive state through Medicaid expansion. It is telling that Kansas Republicans’ solution is to expand predatory and discriminatory insurance policies. Junk insurance plans hurt our most vulnerable in the risk pool by increasing premiums for comprehensive coverage, cap benefits for major health events like heart attacks, and exclude coverage for essential health benefits such as maternity care. I appreciate that Governor Kelly put Kansans’ health and economic outcomes first by vetoing this bill, and remain ready to work with my colleagues across the aisle to truly address healthcare access in our state.”

Dinah Sykes, Senate Democratic Leader

“After a global pandemic, the Kansas legislature should be focused on expanding Medicaid -- not non-solutions like junk insurance plans which are far less comprehensive and discriminate against Kansans with pre-existing conditions. The KDP commends Governor Laura Kelly for vetoing this bill and continuing to fight for Medicaid expansion.”

KDP Chairwoman Vicki Hiatt

For more information about S.B. 29, click HERE.

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