(Reuters)—The governor of Kansas on Thursday vetoed a bill expanding eligibility for Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), saying he could not support legislation that provided tax dollars to Planned Parenthood and failed to meet other requirements he has laid out for expansion.
State lawmakers in the Republican-controlled senate voted in favor of the measure on Tuesday, just days after President Donald Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace the ACA, also known as Obamacare, ended with the bill being pulled from a vote.
The Kansas House, also controlled by Republicans, passed the bill last month.
“Most grievously, this legislation funnels more taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry,” Republican Governor Sam Brownback said in a statement.
“From its infancy, the state of Kansas has affirmed the dignity and equality of each human life. I will not support this legislation that continues to fund organizations that undermine a culture of life.”
In addition to the Planned Parenthood funding, Brownback said the bill failed to meet his three criteria for possible Medicaid expansion – the elimination of waiting lists for disability services, work requirements and being budget neutral.
He said it was “unwise to undertake such a drastic change,” to the state’s Medicaid program while work on an ACA overhaul was being done in Washington.
The failed Obamacare replacement bill, pushed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, would have ended the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid, the federal and state funded insurance program for the poor and disabled.
Kansas was not among the 31 states as of 2016 that had opted to expand Medicaid with the federal government footing much of the cost under Obamacare.
With the ACA’s enhanced federal funding, Kansas’ expansion effective Jan. 1, 2018 would cost the state an estimated $31 million in fiscal 2018, which begins July 1, and $67 million in fiscal 2019 with the addition of more than 180,000 recipients, according to estimates cited in a legislative report on the bill.
Without enhanced federal matching funds, the state’s costs would balloon to $465 million by fiscal 2019.
Kansas is already struggling with a structural budget deficit largely due to tax cuts enacted in 2012.
In addition, the state supreme court ruled earlier this month that Kansas was underfunding public schools in violation of a state constitutional requirement for adequacy.