Medicaid expansion supporters flood Statehouse for rally

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Supporters from all over the state made their voices heard at the Capitol during a Medicaid expansion rally Thursday.

The Alliance for a Healthy Kansas organized the rally because they believe expanding eligibility for Medicaid is one of the most critical issues facing the state.

"We're here just to make a loud statement that people of Kansas want Medicaid expansion," said Executive Director April Holman.

The Alliance for a Healthy Kansas said more than 150,000 Kansans fall into the coverage gap.

Amy Ferguson is one of those and shared her story at the rally.

She said, "I had been in the grips of addiction for many years of my life. I wanted out, but there really wasn't answers. There was no insurance and treatment was extremely expensive."

A bipartisan expansion plan negotiated by Gov. Laura Kelly and Sen. Jim Denning is giving Medicaid expansion supporters new hope.

"We just don't have time for anymore delays," Holman said, "There are tens of thousands of Kansans who need healthcare and don't have it, and this would be a way to get them the care that they need."

She also said the issue is too important to let politics get in the way.

"Even though a majority of Kansans and a majority of legislators in this building are in favor of expansion, there have been just enough people in powerful positions to keep it from seeing really meaningful debate over the years," said Holman.

Though previous attempts have failed, legislative experts believe this could pass.