Archive for Friday, February 11, 2005

Sebelius blasts GOP for stalling plan

Governor says heath care proposal being delayed by partisan politics

February 11, 2005


— Republican budget writers Thursday put the brakes on a major part of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' health care reform plan.

The move prompted Sebelius, a Democrat, to accuse Republicans of playing partisan politics.

"Delaying this just puts off reform for another year and continues the kind of bureaucratic morass that these very legislators have been complaining about for years," Sebelius said at an impromptu news conference.

But Republicans said they wanted to study Sebelius' plan further before allowing it to take effect.

"We don't feel there is enough detail," said Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, vice chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The committee, along party lines, voted to recommend disapproval of Sebelius' executive order to reorganize health care programs. Later, a Senate committee took similar action with only Republican votes.

The executive order issued last month would move health care programs for low-income Kansans out of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. Those programs would be moved under a new Division of Health Policy and Finance within the Kansas Department of Administration.

Sebelius has said the change is needed to better handle escalating health care costs and to deliver services more efficiently.

The proposal had gained widespread support among health care groups.

But Landwehr said the executive order prompted numerous questions about how savings would be achieved and which programs would fall under the new agency.

Sebelius said she and her staff have gone out of their way to meet with Republicans on the issue.

Despite the resolutions, Landwehr said she expected lawmakers to continue working on the proposal, possibly during the April recess. And, she said, there are parts of Sebelius' executive order that she agrees with.

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