While Republicans in DC are pushing for massive cuts to Medicaid, John Eplee and other Republicans in one of the country's most conservative states are fighting to expand the program.
Eplee is a family doctor in Atchison, Kansas—a town of about 11,000 in a county that Donald Trump won by 32 points. He's also a Republican politician; last year, he ran for and won a seat in the state House of Representatives on a platform that included improving access to health coverage for poor residents of his district.
For Eplee, one solution to Kansas' health care woes can be found in a law that is deeply unpopular among Republicans nationally: Obamacare. Specifically, he's interested in the part of Obamacare that allows states to offer Medicaid—the federal-government-funded program that provides insurance for poor people—to a much wider population.
On the campaign trail, Eplee cautiously embraced Medicaid expansion, talking about the issue as he knocked on more than 2,000 doors in his district. He says about two-thirds of the voters he spoke to supported the idea. "That's why I was willing to get onboard and be supportive of it," Eplee says. "My voters wanted me to do that.""I'm out here in the rural area practicing [medicine], and I see it every day…It just takes one event, and then they're wiped out financially."
In February, Eplee joined the overwhelming majority of his House colleagues in voting to expand Medicaid in Kansas. The state Senate is now debating the idea. But Republicans in Washington, DC, might complicate the situation; the latest version of their bill to repeal Obamacare could make expansion impossible in Kansas.
You can read the rest at Mother Jones.