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After His Hometown Hospital Closes, GOP State Senator Considers Medicaid Expansion

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Some Kansas lawmakers are now considering the idea of allowing some form of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.  This comes in the wake of the looming closure of Mercy Hospital in Independence.  Officials with the southeast Kansas hospital partially blame the hospital's closure on the state's failure to expand Medicaid, a health insurance program for the poor.  State Senate Vice President Jeff King, who lives in Independence, used to be against the idea of Medicaid expansion.  But now, he says the state should at least consider the idea.  King wants lawmakers to look into a state-centric approach to addressing poor residents' health care needs.  Meanwhile, Republican leaders in the Kansas House have so far refused to debate bills regarding an expansion of Medicaid.  So far, about 30 states have expanded Medicaid under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.