Gov. Sam Brownback on Monday announced that Kansas would file a brief supporting Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s lawsuit against the federal government over Medicaid expansion.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently warned Florida, Kansas and Texas that failing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act could jeopardize special funding to pay hospitals and doctors for treating the poor.
In filing the lawsuit last week, Scott said federal officials were trying to coerce Florida and other states to expand Medicaid by threatening to cut off access to low-income pool program funding that goes to hospitals that provide care for low-income people who often lack health insurance.
The ACA initially required states to expand Medicaid eligibility. But a June 2012 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that upheld the health reform law made expansion optional for states.
In a news release Monday, Brownback said: “In joining with Florida and Texas, Kansas is protecting the states’ right to make their own determinations about these issues.”
Kansas is one of 21 states that so far have declined to expand Medicaid eligibility to Americans who make up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
Medicaid expansion was one of the cornerstones of the federal health reform law that President Barack Obama signed in 2010.