Kansas Medicaid expansion in doubt

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Advocates are buzzing again about extending Kansas’ health coverage for the poor because of a Topeka hospital’s potential demise.

Yet they could struggle for the last few votes from reluctant Republican legislators to overcome an expected veto by GOP Gov. Sam Brownback.

Supporters of expanding Medicaid under former President Barack Obama’s signature federal health care law must persuade a few GOP lawmakers it can be done without extra cost to the cash-strapped state.

They were energized by the recent announcement that the owner of the Catholic nonprofit St. Francis hospital in Topeka plans to stop operating it this summer whether it finds a buyer or not.

The last holdouts would be GOP lawmakers skeptical of projections from advocates that expanding Medicaid would be a net financial plus for the state.