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Kansas governor vetoes Medicaid expansion, leaving 150,000 poor residents uncovered

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Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday vetoed a bill that would have expanded Medicaid to approximately 150,000 low-income Kansas residents.

Brownback moved quickly to reject the bill. The legislature only officially delivered the legislation on Thursday morning, and he had 10 days to make a decision. Clearly the governor had already made up his mind.

This is, obviously, a huge setback for Medicaid expansion efforts — but the fight isn’t completely over. The Kansas legislature is likely to explore whether they can garner enough support to override the governor’s veto, which would require a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate.

Specifically, Medicaid expansion would need 27 votes in the 40-member Senate and 84 votes in the 120-member House. It received 25 votes in the Senate and 81 votes in the House, meaning the bill is just a few votes shy of a veto-proof majority.

Kansas hospitals, it appears, plan to be involved in pushing for a veto override, according to Marketplace’s Dan Gorenstein.

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