The Buzz

Sam Brownback supports lawsuit seeking to protect hospital payments

Gov. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas
Gov. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas

Kansas isn’t interested in expanding Medicaid — or in refusing all federal help for its hospitals.

Gov. Sam Brownback said Monday that Kansas will file papers supporting Florida’s lawsuit against the Obama administration for payments designed to help hospitals care for low-income patients.

The Obama administration has written Florida — and Kansas — threatening to cut off the payments, which provide Kansas with roughly $45 million annually. Federal officials say the payments aren’t needed because low-income patients now have access to Medicaid health insurance.

But Kansas and Florida have refused to expand Medicaid. And on Monday Brownback said the federal government can’t force the states to widen the insurance program with threats to cut off the hospital funding.

“The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the federal government is prohibited from coercing the states to expand Medicaid,” the Republican governor said in a statement.

Texas will also file supporting papers in Florida’s case.