Kansas Senate Adds Discriminatory Language to Medicaid Expansion Bill

by | February 25, 2020

Kansas Senate Chamber

This week we may see an attempt to pull the Senate’s Medicaid expansion bill out of committee. We OPPOSE that bill as it’s been amended.

As amended by the Senate Health committee, the Medicaid expansion bill has a so-called “conscience” exception that will allow health care professionals to deny care to LGBTQ patients. Backers of this amendment are claiming that is not true. However, the “deeply held religious beliefs” language has been used in the past to specifically target the LGBTQ community.

In 2018, the Kansas Legislature passed the adoption discrimination act, which uses “sincerely held religious beliefs” as justification to deny taxpayer-funded foster and adoption services to LGBTQ families. One of the backers of the 2018 bill, Catholic Charities of Springfield, Illinois, came to Kansas to back the 2018 bill. They explicitly singled out LGBTQ families as the reason they were here.

Connecting the dots is exceedingly simple. “Deeply” or “sincerely held religious beliefs” is code for discrimination. It’s code to green-light denial of taxpayer services to taxpaying LGBTQ Kansans. Proponents of this “conscience” exemption will deny the intent, but past use of this language to specifically target our community renders those denials meaningless.

Should Medicaid expansion manage to make it to the House or Senate floor this year, we ask all fair-minded Kansas legislators to OPPOSE any attempt to legalize taxpayer-funded discrimination.

Call your state representatives and state senators. Their contact information can be found at http://kslegislature.org/li/b2019_20/members/ or you can search by address at https://openstates.org/ks/legislators/

If you need help finding your legislator, email us at info@eqks.org

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