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Archive for Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Panel: More children need health coverage

August 16, 2006

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A panel charged with overhauling the state's approach to better health agreed Tuesday to urge Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to insure more children in low-income families, make routine dental care available to the poor and fight childhood obesity.

The Kansas Health Policy Authority also planted the seed for expanding the state's Medicaid program to include thousands of adults whose hospital and emergency room bills are written off as uncollectible.

"These are some rather bold initiatives," said Sheldon Weisgrau, a senior analyst at the Kansas Health Institute, a health policy think tank.

In Kansas, adults who earn more than $3,626 a year are not eligible for Medicaid unless they're pregnant or disabled.

The state's eligibility threshold - 37 percent of the federal poverty guideline - is among the nation's lowest.

The health authority proposed raising the threshold to $9,800 by July 1, 2008.

Plans call for the health authority filing nine recommendations with the state budget office by Sept. 15.

Whether the governor includes the initiatives in the budget she'll send to the 2007 Legislature remains to the seen.

News of the recommendations irked Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita.

"These are all nice, warm fuzzies," she said. "But how are we going to pay for them? It's easy to hand out other people's money."

Landwehr, a conservative, helped craft the legislation that created the authority.

"I'm disappointed," she said, noting that many of the proposals are open-ended and could end up costing the state more than projected.

Authority member Ray Davis, a health policy professor at Kansas University, disagreed.

"I'd say the actions taken today were in concert with what the Legislature instructed the authority to do - take responsibility for state health programs and make them efficient, good and accessible."

The initiatives proposed for next year include:

¢ Extending the state's HealthWave insurance program to cover children ages 5 and under in families earning less than 300 percent of the poverty level, or $49,800 for a family of three. The cost would be an additional $4 million.

Sebelius introduced a similar measure earlier this year, only to see it defeated in the Legislature.

¢ Adding regular dental care to the list of services available to adults on Medicaid.

Currently, Medicaid covers only emergency dental care for adults. Adding regular dental care coverage would cost the state $3.5 million per year.

¢ Adding obesity counseling to the list of covered services for children on Medicaid.

Studies have found that children on Medicaid are nearly six times more likely to be obese than children covered by private health insurance.

Covering obesity counseling would cost the state almost $600,000 per year.

The nine-member authority assumed oversight of most of the state's Medicaid programs - payments to doctors, hospitals and pharmacies, mostly - and its insurance programs for state employees and uninsured children.

Comments

billyflay 7 years, 8 months ago

here's a thought, don't have kids unless you can afford them!

that's too reasonable though, it's much better to let other people pay for a broads one night stand,

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Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 8 months ago

so why does it always take so long to implement a plan?

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swbsow 7 years, 8 months ago

And your rant about abortion has do with increasing the number of children on Healthwave, increasing dental services to those on Medicaid & including obesity on the list of service covered, HOW?

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Ray Parker 7 years, 8 months ago

North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman told the Red River abortion mill to release its medical malpractice insurance records to the state after it was found that the facility had contracted with a bogus malpractice insurance company. The abortion mill wouldn't comply with the request and Poolman obtained a subpoena for the records. (We can just forget about pro-abortion RINO Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger doing anything like that on behalf of botched abortion victims. Liberals will still tell you, though, that it doesn't matter if you don't have a pro-life Insurance Commissioner in Kansas, where huge medical insurance payments are routinely funneled into abortion mill profits, and malpractice is routinely covered up.) The fraudulent Professional Liability Insurance Co., a.k.a. Unimed, has been widely used in America's abortion mills. The assets of abortionist quacks are often in other names or in offshore accounts, making it impossible to collect from them, even after winning a malpractice lawsuit. Huge numbers of malpractice lawsuits against abortion mills now loom, in part because of deliberate failure to comply with informed consent regulations involving known, proven risks such as later breast cancer, premature birth, infant mortality, and infant cerebral palsy. Meanwhile, our daughters are still being prodded into filthy, stinking, decrepit, dangerous abortion mills, because of Bilious Sebelius and her vetoing safety restrictions, and 7 ambulances per month haul the dead and maimed victims out of Tiller's Wichita abortion mill. These are the issues that should be addressed and cleaned up in Kansas health care, instead of being ignored and covered up, as this panel has done.

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