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).
Kansas Medicaid providers with expansion plans ready to go after spending months and thousands of dollars preparing for the state’s new health homes initiative said they were “shocked” and “disappointed” that state officials abruptly chose to indefinitely delay much of the program’s implementation while giving the providers less than 24 hours' notice of the state’s decision to hit the pause button.
Shelley Schultz, left, a residential client of Cottonwood, Inc. in Lawrence, talks with registered nurse Pat Turmes, who works at Cottonwood's clinic. Cottonwood's nurses sit down with clients on a regular basis for wellness checks.
Gov. Sam Brownback once called Obamacare “an abomination,” and with the federal health reform law now four years on the books bad-mouthing it has become a conservative Republican ritual.
But this week, after more than a year of planning and preparation by Kansas and federal officials, the Affordable Care Act and Brownback’s own KanCare initiative begin coming together in ways that will make the two programs indistinguishable to as many as 72,000 Kansas Medicaid beneficiaries.
Unlike its neighboring states of Missouri and Nebraska, where significant decreases have been reported, Kansas has seen a significant jump in the number of people enrolled in its Medicaid/CHIP programs, even without loosening its relatively tight eligibility standards.
According to a new report from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, enrollment in the programs — together branded as KanCare — rose in April to a historic high of 426,642 people, or roughly one in seven Kansans. That’s up from 396,374 in April 2013.
The FBI is investigating possible influence peddling by former aides of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, according to a story Sunday in The Topeka Capital-Journal.
The FBI is also looking into whether the governor’s office pressured the for-profit companies that run the state Medicaid system to use lobbyists from Parallel Strategies, a firm founded by the former aides, including the governor’s former chief of staff, David Kensinger, the newspaper reported.
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:
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.
A federal Medicaid official says Kansas is making "substantial progress" toward a major expansion of the Medicaid privatization program known as KanCare.
During a statewide teleconference Wednesday, Kansas officials said the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is on the verge of approving the state’s plan to move residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities to the program. It would put residential, employment, and independent living services under the control of the private insurance companies that run KanCare.
Editor's note: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services did not approve the inclusion of long-term services for the intellectually and developmentally disabled into KanCare, according to a report published this morning by the Kansas Health Institute. We will update this post as more information becomes available.
The original story, reported prior to the report, starts here:
On Monday morning, Kansas Department of Health and Environment director of Health Care Finance, Kari Bruffett, addressed a packed legislative oversight meeting about issues with Kansas' new privatized Medicaid program, KanCare. Her department oversees the work of the three managed care companies that started administering the program that was rolled out this year.
She said that most of the glitches that came at the start of KanCare have been fixed, and the new system is now working nearly as well as the old Medicaid system.
At the beginning of the year, Kansas launched KanCare, the first fully privatized managed care system for delivering Medicaid coverage. It was introduced as a way to cut costs, but some people are finding the cost-cutting is coming at expense of services.
On KCUR's news program KC Currents we discussed how well KanCare is meeting its goals and what plans there are to address concerns.
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.
While the legislative session in Kansas has ended, many advocates for Kansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities are now worried about how the approved budget will affect services for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.
Advocates like Tom Laing, with the service organization InterHab, fought against a proposed plan that would move non medical services, like adult day care, into a new Medicaid managed care program called KanCare.
In the final moments of the legislative session, lawmakers moved forward with that plan.
The clock is ticking for the 380,000 Kansans whose health insurance comes through the Medicaid program now known as KanCare.
The KanCare program assigned each member to one of three private companies administering the benefits as of the first of the year. Members who prefer to switch to a different company have to do so no later than this Thursday.
At a recent educational meeting in Hays, KDHE policy and program analyst Effie Swanson said one reason to switch might be if your doctor is not signed up with your health plan’s network.
Medicaid is the second-largest program that Kansas operates, next only to education. And costs of the health program for the poor and disabled have been growing at a faster pace than most other programs. A desire to control those costs and improve care is why officials in Governor Sam Brownback’s administration have embarked on a massive plan to overhaul the system.
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