Senators voted 25-13 to give early approval to expansion, with a final vote expected Tuesday.
The failure of the federal effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act hung over the debate. Supporters of expansion cheered the decision in
"I've said we can't get distracted by the political gridlock in
"We have a new president. If
One of 19 states
The legislation in the
The federal government covers 90 percent of the cost of expansion, while the states pay the remaining 10 percent.
The vote marked the first time since the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010 that
Elections last fall swept a number of moderate
At legislative hearings earlier this year, supporters of expansion vastly outnumbered opponents.
"A host of individuals supported it. But then the opponent testimony, we find four opponents," Sen.
"We can pass the buck, we can wait on the federal level to do what they're going to do, or we can do it ourselves. We can help people," Faust-Goudeau said.
If the bill passes during a final vote on Tuesday, it will go to Brownback for his signature or veto.
The governor has been critical of expansion, and his spokeswoman talked about the bill in terms that suggest a veto.
"To expand ObamaCare when the program is in a death spiral is not responsible policy.
Brownback could have expanded
"We're talking about real people who need access to care," Bollier said.
During the debate, conservatives attempted to stop expansion through a series of amendments. Senators voted down the proposed changes.
One amendment would have prevented
An amendment from Sen.
"We're standing at an amusement park ride that's closed. It's broken. And we're saying we want to go ahead and get on the ride," said Sen.
Pyle acknowledged that the congressional bill's failure to get a vote did take an argument away from expansion opponents. But he said he opposes expansion because he opposes growing government.
"I just think it's more government," Pyle said. "We have to look at things from that standpoint."
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