The odds that the Kansas Legislature will pass a Medicaid expansion bill this session remain long.
But they improved Thursday, however slightly, when conservative Republican leaders agreed to allow a hearing on expansion to avoid an immediate vote on the House floor.
Rep. Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, was attempting to amend his Medicaid expansion proposal into an unrelated bill. Uncertain how a vote might turn out, House leaders dropped their opposition to a hearing in exchange for Ward withdrawing his amendment.
The chairman of a Kansas House committee holding three Medicaid expansion bills says he has no current plans to have hearings on any of the proposals.
“At this time I haven’t scheduled anything,” said Rep. Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican and chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee. “Will I schedule something? I can’t say right now. But right now there is nothing scheduled.”
Sylvia Matthews Burwell succeeded former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in June 2014. Before that she was Director of the Office of Management and Budget. She has also served as president of the Walmart Foundation and of the Global Development Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Kansas hospitals are leading the push for Medicaid expansion.
But they’re not the only providers for which expansion is a critical financial issue. It’s also a priority for the safety net clinics that exist to provide free and reduced-cost care to low-income Kansans.
An alternative plan to expand Medicaid loaded with clauses meant to woo Republicans has been introduced in Kansas. But it could face the same difficult political climate that killed similar bills in other states last week.
Rep. Tom Sloan said Monday that the proposal introduced by the Vision 2020 Committee he chairs represents a Kansas solution that can appeal even to those who campaigned on unwavering opposition to the federal health care reforms spearheaded by President Obama.
A group of Kansas hospital leaders is doing what Gov. Sam Brownback has so far declined to do: negotiate with federal officials on Medicaid expansion.
A delegation of hospital executives recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and outline an expansion proposal they are developing for Brownback and Kansas lawmakers to consider this session.
Republican Missouri State Sen. Ryan Silvey of Kansas City announced Tuesday a plan that would expand Medicaid for veterans and their families.
At a press event at the Capitol, Silvey introduced the Veteran’s Family Healthcare Act, which would provide Medicaid coverage for veterans, their spouses and dependent children with incomes between 19 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
“If we can’t solve the whole problem, let’s solve a piece of it,” Silvey said.
Experts on rural Kansas hospitals made dire predictions about their fiscal futures in a legislative hearing Wednesday that laid the groundwork for a discussion of Medicaid expansion.
Rep. Tom Sloan, chairman of the Vision 2020 Committee, said that he’s trying to start a discussion about crafting an expansion plan that addresses the needs of stakeholders and the concerns of those wary of its connections to the Affordable Care Act.
Even as prospects appear bleak for Medicaid expansion in Missouri, a new report says the state would save $81 million right off the bat and $100 million annually later on if it expands the program.
The report by the Missouri Budget Project, a nonpartisan think tank in St. Louis, says the savings would come from money the state currently spends on Medicaid services provided to pregnant women, mental health patients and prisoners in need of medical care.
The newly re-elected speaker of the Kansas House reiterated on Monday that he would rather deal with the state’s budget problems by cutting spending than by revisiting the tax cuts that are shrinking state revenues.
Ray Merrick, a Stilwell Republican, was overwhelmingly elected to a second term as speaker, defeating Rep. Virgil Peck of Tyro, 80-16.
Republicans now hold a 97- to 28-seat majority in the House.
A Kansas City, Kan., home health attendant has been convicted in a federal case based on fraudulent Medicaid billing practices.
Doris Betts, 55, pleaded guilty to health care fraud in federal court. Her conviction was announced Tuesday by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, whose office is working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General to investigate home health care fraud in Kansas.
Post-election soul-searching by Kansas Democrats includes disagreement over whether Medicaid expansion should have been a larger part of the party’s strategy.
The Democrats lost all statewide races for the second straight time and lost another five House seats to drop their number in that chamber to 27. The defeats were part of a national wave of Republican election wins, but they have nonetheless led to talk within the Kansas Democratic Party about what could have been done differently.
The Kansas Hospital Association on Thursday continued its campaign for Medicaid expansion by reminding policymakers how much the state is losing by not claiming federal dollars to cover more low-income adults.
While the election returned Gov. Sam Brownback to office and solidified conservatives' control of the Legislature, Kansas hospitals are moving ahead with plans to put a Medicaid expansion plan before lawmakers.
Kansas hospitals are moving ahead with plans to put a Medicaid expansion plan before lawmakers despite election results that returned Gov. Sam Brownback to office and solidified conservatives’ control of the Legislature.
Democrat Paul Davis favored expansion but came up short in his bid to upset Brownback, a Republican who thus far has opposed expansion. Also, several Democratic House members who likely would have favored expansion lost narrowly to GOP challengers.
Jason Gallagher and his assistant, Tiffany Lentz, go through their morning routine at Gallagher's home in Overland Park. Lentz is one of five full- and part-time workers who provide in-home services for Gallagher.
Karen Barezinsky is looking for an answer to what she says is a simple question: Are the people who run Kansas’ Medicaid program planning to cut the supports she and her husband use to keep her son, Ray Santin, who’s paralyzed from his neck down, out of a nursing home?
“I can’t find out anything,” says Karen, 62, who lives in Scranton, Kan., with her husband and son. “I leave messages with Ray’s case manager, but nobody calls me back.”
Fifteen medical-related political action committees registered with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission had a total of almost $600,000 cash on hand at the July 24 reporting deadline, and officials from the top PACs said they're still forming the legislative agendas that may inform how they spend that money.
A state official charged with overseeing Medicaid-funded services that help people with disabilities live in community-based settings rather than in nursing homes said Tuesday that coming changes in federal wage and hour rules are likely to increase costs, reduce access to care and give beneficiaries less say in deciding who will provide their care.
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.
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.
Kansas recovered nearly $29 million in taxpayer funds in fiscal 2014 through its Medicaid fraud enforcement unit, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said Friday.
In the fiscal year ending June 30, the Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Division of the Kansas attorney general's office recovered more than $28.7 million. The recoveries were reported in the division’s annual report to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.