- Associated Press - Thursday, November 12, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Three Republicans who support Medicaid expansion have been removed from a Kansas House committee that oversees health care issues.

The Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/1HKUaWN ) reported Wednesday House Speaker Ray Merrick removed Rep. Barbara Bollier of Mission Hills, a retired physician; Rep. Susan Concannon, a Beloit Republican and committee vice chair with a background in rural health; and Rep. Don Hill, an Emporia Republican and a pharmacist.

Merrick said in a statement that Kansas citizens oppose an expansion of the health care program.

Kansas is one of 20 states that have not expanded Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act.

The chair of the committee, Rep. Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican, said he had not been informed of the committee changes ahead of the decision, but would not second-guess the speaker’s actions.

“I would say the speaker probably has his reasons, but I wasn’t a part of that,” Hawkins said.

Bollier said she is saddened that three of the most knowledgeable people on health care issues have been removed. Concannon said she found out she had been reassigned to the General Government Budget Committee after returning home from Beloit’s Veterans Day parade. Hill and Bollier were both moved to the elections committee.

“I haven’t done anything to undermine the chairman. I haven’t done anything to undermine the speaker. I just voiced my opinion on the issue,” Concannon said.

Republican Rep. Diana Dierks, who was reassigned from the House Education Committee to the elections and transportation committees says the removal of her and other lawmakers from the education committee is due to their opposition to conservative reforms to education.

“They’re taking key people and putting us on committees where we can’t, as they say, stir the pot,” Dierks said.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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