Five candidates are seeking the Republican nomination for Kansas insurance commissioner, an office that regulates insurance companies, examines them for financial solvency, ensures compliance with insurance regulations, licenses insurance agents, and educates and assists consumers. The primary winner on Aug. 5 will face off in the fall against the lone Democrat in the race, Dennis Anderson. The winner in November will succeed Sandy Praeger, who was elected in 2003 and is stepping down.
A study released earlier this month by the White House Council of Economic Advisers says the decision not to expand Medicaid is costing Kansas millions of dollars and thousands of jobs.
According to the study, Kansas is passing up $820 million over the next three years by choosing not to expand Medicaid eligibility. The federal government would pay for nearly all of the cost of the expansion, which would add as many as 100,000 Kansans to the state’s Medicaid rolls.
A Kansas state official insists there’s no backlog of Medicaid applications in the state, saying federal concerns have more to do with state and government computer systems not sharing information with each other.
Sara Belfry, a spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said all of the state’s Medicaid applications are being processed within the 45-day period that’s allowed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Roughly $18 million that would restore basic dental benefits for hundreds of thousands of low-income Missouri adults is in limbo because of a sweeping budget action by Gov. Jay Nixon.
Acting under what he termed his constitutional duty to balance the state budget, Nixon late last month restricted or vetoed approximately $1.1 billion in spending for the fiscal year that began July 1.
Tired of waiting for states to reduce their backlogs of Medicaid applications, the Obama administration has given Kansas and five other states until Monday to submit plans to resolve issues that have prevented more than 1 million low-income or disabled people from getting health coverage.
Besides Kansas, the targeted states are Alaska, California, Michigan, Missouri and Tennessee.
It’s make-or-break time for advocates of Medicaid expansion in Kansas.
Fearing that political events may be conspiring to foreclose the opportunity to use mostly federal dollars to extend coverage to thousands of uninsured poor adults, the Kansas Hospital Association is preparing to shift its lobbying campaign into high gear.
The first step, says Tom Bell, the association’s chief executive, will be to craft an expansion proposal for lawmakers to consider in the 2015 session.
A last-minute deal to expand Medicaid in Missouri almost materialized in the waning days of this year’s legislative session, briefly breathing life into an issue that had seemed all but doomed.
Missouri State Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Kansas City Republican, provided a behind-the-scenes look at high-level negotiations that occurred just before the session ended without an agreement to expand Medicaid eligibility.
The inaugural edition of a Heritage Foundation news site features an interview with Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback explaining “how Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion hurts states.”
The interview is featured in the Daily Signal, a new online publication “supported by the resources and intellectual firepower” of the foundation, which describes its mission as promoting “conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defense.”
The decision by state officials not to expand Medicaid eligibility could deny thousands of uninsured Kansans access to life-saving cancer treatments, according to a recent report by researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is proposing that the state use federal health dollars to subsidize health insurance for low-wage workers.
Under a program he is calling Missouri Health Works, Nixon wants the state pay a portion of employers’ health insurance costs for their employees who make below 138 percent of the poverty level, or $27,310 annually for a family of three.
The program would be open to businesses with fewer than 150 employees.
Gov. Sam Brownback would be taking a political risk by signing a bill that could eventually give state officials control of Medicare and other federal health care programs, Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger said Tuesday.
Praeger, a Republican in the final year of her third and final term, said because the bill could “jeopardize” the benefits of the nearly 450,000 Kansans enrolled in Medicare signing it could alienate senior voters.
The Affordable Care Act has put Sandy Praeger at odds with most of her fellow Republicans in Topeka, Kan.
The Kansas Commissioner of Insurance shared the frustration many had over the health exchange website problems, and she’s voiced concern over how shifting rules and delays impact the insurance industry.
But Praeger has remained a supporter of federal health reform, a proponent of Medicaid expansion, and a critic of Gov. Sam Brownback’s approach to health policy.
She answered five questions as part of our monthly series, KC Checkup:
Medicaid expansion is nowhere to be found on Gov. Sam Brownback’s list of priorities and those of Republican legislative leaders as they work through a legislative session now dominated by school finance issues.
But that didn’t stop nearly 200 expansion supporters from crowding into a wing of the Statehouse adjacent to the governor’s office on Tuesday for a noisy rally. The event was staged by more than 50 health care and social service organizations organized under the banner of the Kansas Medicaid Access Coalition.
Payment delays to health providers have been one of the most contentious parts of KanCare. But a bill before the Kansas Senate this week aims to eliminate the problem.
The bill requires the three for-profit companies that run Kansas’s Medicaid program to pay on time. Official state numbers show payments have been timely, at least in the past several months, but many doctors and hospitals have reported some significant problems.
Missouri policy makers might be inching toward middle ground that would expand Medicaid eligibility while reforming the safety-net program to encourage recipients to work, two key participants in the talks said Monday.
The comments came from Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, and state Rep. Noel Torpey, an Independence Republican.
A new health care proposal in Missouri would revamp the state’s Medicaid system, create more pricing transparency and offer incentives for physicians to work in underserved areas, among other changes. Identical state health reform bills (HB 1793 and SB 847) were introduced Monday by State Rep. Keith Frederick, R – Eureka, and State Sen. Rob Schaaf, R – St. Joseph.
The Kansas legislature is back in session this week but they probably won’t be debating a Medicaid expansion, after a recommendation from Gov. Sam Brownback.
Expansion supporters had hoped that at least an expansion compromise could happen this year. But the governor’s statement makes any expansion in the near future all but impossible, because the GOP controlled House has said they will only take up the issue at the governor's urging.
Still, many in the state are pushing for some change to Medicaid, which was intended to be part of the Affordable Care Act.
A series of hearings by state lawmakers into Missouri's Medicaid system has begun.
The interim House Committee on Medicaid Transformation spent much of the Thursday looking at proposed changes in Arkansas and Iowa, which would include expanding access to private health insurers and rewarding healthy behavior.
Sidney Watson is a law professor at St. Louis University who also advocates for improved access to Medicaid. She told the committee more about the waiver Iowa is seeking from the federal government.
Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 1:27 pm
A Missouri Senate interim committee looking into the state's Medicaid system heard from several doctors and other health care providers Wednesday at a hearing in Jefferson City.
Among those testifying was Thomas Hale, M.D., a St. Louis-based physician working with Sisters of Mercy. He told the panel that Medicaid needs to be expanded to make up for the pending loss of federal reimbursements to hospitals, known as DSH payments ("dish").
A two-year investigation by the U.S. Senate concludes that so-called dental management companies have provided substandard care to low-income children covered by Medicaid, while over billing the joint federal-state program.
Opponents to expanding Medicaid in Missouri worry about costs, but supporters say expansion is needed to help children, the disabled and elderly. The two sides sounded off on July 10 in Independence, Mo.
The state of Kansas has submitted its first quarterly update on KanCare to the federal government.
The federal waiver that gives Kansas the authority to experiment with its Medicaid program by privatizing the entire system requires a progress report four times a year.
The first report covers the period from January first through March 31st. It shows that a total of more than 344,000 Kansans enrolled in KanCare during the first three months. At the end of March, however, there were fewer than 324,000 still enrolled—a drop of more than 20,000 people.