3:26 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Survey Showing Spike In Kansas’ Uninsured Rate Questioned

Remember that headline-grabbing report last week that said Kansas was the only state in the nation to see a significant increase in its uninsured rate?

Well, it’s looking more and more suspect.

Some officials were immediately skeptical when the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey results were released, showing that the adult uninsured rate in Kansas had increased by 5.1 percentage points, jumping from 12.5 percent in 2013 to 17.6 percent by mid-year 2014.

Read more
2:45 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Report: Kansas Improperly Claimed $11 Million In Medicaid Reimbursements

A report by the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that Kansas improperly received Medicaid reimbursement for school-based health services.
Credit Wladyslaw / Wikimedia-CC

Kansas improperly billed Medicaid for nearly $11 million in school-based health services, a government watchdog has found.

In a report released Monday, the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services determined that Kansas received $10.75 million in unallowable reimbursements for services provided during the one-year period from July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010.

Read more
3:53 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Study: Rejection Of Medicaid Expansion Costing Kansas, Missouri Hospitals Billions


A new study by the Urban Institute says that not expanding Medicaid will cost hospitals in Kansas and Missouri more than $9 billion over a 10-year period.

The analysis from the nonpartisan research organization pegs the loss to Kansas hospitals at $2.6 billion between 2013 and 2022. Missouri hospitals would forfeit $6.8 billion over the same period.

Read more
8:41 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Hutchinson Hospital CEO Calls For Medicaid Expansion

The top executive at the Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System says he and other hospital officials are “baffled” by Gov. Sam Brownback’s unwillingness to expand the state’s Medicaid program.

Read more
12:50 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

'Nun On The Bus' Coming To Kansas City

Sister Simone Campbell, an outspoken advocate for Medicaid expansion, will be speaking in Kansas City next week.

Sister Simone Campbell, an outspoken proponent for Medicaid expansion who has appeared on several prominent TV talk shows, will address a public forum on social justice issues in Kansas City, Mo., next week.

Campbell, who led the national “Nuns on the Bus” campaigns in 2012 and 2013, is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Community Christian Church, 4601 Main St.

Read more
3:46 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Primer On GOP Candidates For Kansas Insurance Commissioner

The four Republican candidates for Kansas insurance commissioner all oppose Obamacare.
Credit Courtesy photos / art from KCUR

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.

Read more
9:28 am
Mon July 21, 2014

White House Study: Kansas Losing Money, Jobs Without Medicaid Expansion

This map from the White House Council of Economic Advisors shows which states have expanded Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Council of Economic Advisors / Executive Office of the President of the United States

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.

Read more
3:20 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Kansas Official: No Backlog In Processing Of Medicaid Applications

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).

Read more
2:40 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Dental Funds For The Poor Caught In Missouri Budget Battle

Medical experts, including professionals at the Mayo Clinic, argue that good oral health goes beyond caring for teeth and gums.
Credit Byrle Gross

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.

Read more
2:22 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Feds Demand Medicaid Backlog Fixes In Kansas

Kaiser Health News 

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.

Read more
8:44 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Kansas Hospitals Crafting Medicaid Expansion Proposal

Tom Bell, chief executive of the Kansas Hospital Association, says the group plans to submit proposed legislation to expand Medicaid in Kansas.
Credit Kansas Hospital Association

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.

Read more
2:12 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Hospital Association Execs: Medicaid Expansion Would Aid Thousands Of Vets

Tom Bell, president and CEO of the Kansas Hospital Association.
Credit Kansas Hospital Association

The chief executives of  the Missouri and Kansas hospital associations say thousands of uninsured veterans would be eligible for coverage if Medicaid were expanded in those states. 

In an opinion piece that ran in The Kansas City Star on Tuesday, they estimated that more than 37,000 veterans in Missouri and Kansas would qualify for Medicaid coverage under expansion.

Read more
3:56 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Want Medicaid Expansion? You Can Move, Missouri Senator Says

Missouri Senator Ed Emery's letter explains his reasons for opposing Medicaid expansion.
Credit Debbie Cole

How divisive was the debate over Medicaid expansion in Missouri this year?

Just ask Debbie Cole, a 51-year-old mother of four who lives in Butler, Mo., and signed a petition asking state legislators to extend Medicaid to cover more low-income residents.

“We all live different lives, and some people out there may be working two or three jobs and have no insurance, and they need it to survive,” she says.

About a month after signing the petition, Cole got a letter from her state senator, Republican Ed Emery of Lamar.

Read more
7:36 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Area Legislator: Missouri Lawmakers Nearly Reached Medicaid Expansion Deal

Missouri state Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Republican from Lamar, says lawmakers came close to expanding Medicaid eligibility.
Credit Missouri News Horizon / Flickr--CC

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.

Read more
9:44 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Brownback Discusses Opposition To Medicaid Expansion in Heritage Foundation Interview

Gov. Sam Brownback
Credit file photo

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.”

Read more
4:38 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Medicaid Expansion Supporters Stage Kansas Statehouse Rally

Rep. Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, spoke on Friday to supporters of Medicaid expansion in front of the Kansas Statehouse.
Credit Jim McLean / KHI News Service

Supporters of expanding Kansas Medicaid eligibility to more low-income adults rallied Friday at the Statehouse to call attention to the issue as legislators formally ended the 2014 session.

The federal health reform law initially required states to expand Medicaid eligibility. But the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June 2012 that upheld the law made expansion optional for states.

Read more
3:26 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Failure To Expand Medicaid Hits Community Health Centers Hard

Missouri’s refusal to expand Medicaid will leave more than 56,000 patients who use community health centers without insurance, according to a report released Friday by researchers at George Washington University.

Similarly, Kansas’ refusal to expand Medicaid will leave more than 24,000 community health center patients without insurance, according to the report.

Read more
9:51 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Study: Expanding Medicaid Would Prevent Cancer Deaths In Kansas

Dr. Edward Ellerbeck, director of the Cancer Control and Population Health Program at the University of Kansas Medical Center, examines a patient.
Credit Jim McLean / KHI News Service

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.

Read more
3:24 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Nixon Proposes Health Insurance Subsidy For Low-Wage Workers

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon unveiled a proposal Wednesday to help low-wage workers get health care coverage.
Credit KCPT


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.

Read more
12:15 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Report: Medicaid Expansion Would Boost Kansas Economy

A new report from the Kansas Center for Economic Growth concludes that Medicaid expansion would be a boon to the state's economy and be particularly helpful in rural areas where higher percentages of workers lack good health coverage.

Read more
8:23 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Brownback Urged To Veto Health Compact Bill

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.

Read more
Election 2014
5:33 am
Wed April 9, 2014

New Poll Shows Medicaid Expansion Could Be Factor In Kansas Gov's Race

Poll results released Tuesday indicate that the Medicaid expansion issue could be a factor in the Kansas governor’s race.

Read more
6:00 am
Thu March 27, 2014

KC Checkup: Five Questions For Sandy Praeger

Sandy Praeger, Kansas Commissioner of Insurance, in her office in Topeka, Kan.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

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:

Read more
7:36 am
Wed March 19, 2014

More Than 200 Rally For Medicaid At Kansas Statehouse

People gathered at the Kansas Statehouse on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to expand Medicaid eligibility.
Credit Dan Brennan / KHI News Service

  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.

Read more
7:44 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Bill Before Kansas Senate Aims To Eliminate KanCare Payment Delays

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.

Read more
6:15 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Missouri Politicians Hopeful of Medicaid Expansion Compromise

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.

Read more
1:19 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Mo. Legislators Propose Major Changes To State’s Healthcare System

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.

Read more
8:31 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Brownback Will Not Recommend Kansas Medicaid Expansion

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.

Read more
7:30 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Mo. House Committee Kicks Off Series Of Medicaid Hearings

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.

Read more
NPR Story
9:22 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Mo. Senate Panel Hears From Backers And Opponents Of Medicaid Expansion

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

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").

Read more