Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly of Kansas introduced a proposal on Monday that might legalize medical marijuana to lift the income required to broaden the state’s Medicaid program. Below the proposal, practically 200,000 state residents who don’t at present have medical insurance would achieve eligibility for protection. 

“After practically a 12 months of challenges introduced on by COVID-19, we have to use each instrument at our disposal to guard the well being of our workforce and our financial system,” Kelly said in an announcement from the governor’s workplace. “Getting 165,000 Kansans well being care, injecting billions of {dollars} and hundreds of jobs into our native economies, and defending our rural hospitals will likely be crucial to our restoration from the pandemic. By combining broadly fashionable, commonsense medical marijuana coverage with our efforts to broaden Medicaid, the income from the invoice pays for growth.”

Obamacare Consists of Medicaid Growth

Below the Inexpensive Care Act handed in 2010, Congress licensed an growth of the Medicaid program to offer medical insurance for extra low-income households, with the federal authorities protecting 90% of the associated fee and the states chargeable for 10%. Kansas is considered one of 12 states who haven’t carried out the growth, with leaders of the GOP-led legislature citing the prices of this system.

“You have got heard most of the feedback coming from the opposition have been [that] we are able to’t afford it,” Kelly said in a press convention on Monday. “We’ve got simply designed a invoice that pays for itself and extra.”

“There’s by no means been any good argument in opposition to growth apart from we are able to’t afford it,” she added.

Below Kelly’s proposal, a invoice to legalize and regulate the manufacturing and sale of medical marijuana could be handed by the legislature. Kelly has mentioned the medical marijuana program could be modeled after Ohio’s, with sufferers with particular qualifying situations permitted to make use of hashish medicinally with a doctor’s suggestion. The measure would additionally implement taxes that might fund the Medicaid growth. Each elements of the plan, nonetheless, are already dealing with opposition from Republican lawmakers.

“I’m hoping they may put aside the political celebration variations and acknowledge that each elements of this invoice, Medicaid growth and medical legalization, are terribly fashionable amongst their constituents,” Kelly said in the course of the information convention.

Republican Lawmakers Oppose Kelly’s Plan

Republican Home Majority Chief Dan Hawkins was fast to criticize the plan in an announcement launched on Monday.

“Governor Kelly envisions a Kansas the place you’ll be able to select to not work and the taxpayers will foot the invoice so that you can keep house and smoke supposedly medical marijuana,” Hawkins mentioned. “Whereas the Governor is concentrated on excessive hopes and pipe goals, Republicans proceed working to create jobs and rebuild the as soon as sturdy financial system.”

However well being care leaders are in favor of increasing Medicaid. Chad Austin, president and CEO of the Kansas Hospital Affiliation, mentioned in a College of Kansas Well being System briefing that he believes the newly put in Biden administration will provide incentives to “these 12 remaining states that haven’t moved ahead with Medicaid growth.”

Austin mentioned that Kansas is “on an island” surrounded by states which have taken benefit of the growth, including that public opinion is in favor of the coverage change.

“There’s been ballot after ballot that’s been accomplished during the last a number of years that constantly reveals that there’s public help for Medicaid growth,” he mentioned. “So hopefully our policymakers right here in Topeka will reap the benefits of that and discover a answer that’s proper for Kansans.”