Archive for Friday, August 12, 2011

Statehouse Live: More states get federal funds to help set up health insurance exchanges

August 12, 2011


— The federal government on Friday announced the award of $185 million in grants to states to help set up health insurance exchanges -- a process that has been thrown into limbo in Kansas after Gov. Sam Brownback earlier this week rejected a $31.5 million grant to set up an exchange.

In a conference call from Washington, D.C., U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the new round of grants would go to 13 states and the District of Columbia to establish one-stop shops where consumers can search for the best insurance policy for their needs. Kansas was not among the group. The exchanges are part of the federal health reform law and are scheduled to be in place in 2014.

Earlier, Kansas had been awarded a $31.5 million "early innovator" grant to start work on the health insurance exchange. But on Tuesday, Brownback, who had earlier signed off on the grant, rejected it, saying there were too many strings attached.

Sebelius did not address Brownback's rejection in the teleconference, but maintained that states had been given a lot of leeway in implementing the exchanges to tailor them to their needs.

As a former governor, insurance commissioner and legislator in Kansas, Sebelius said, "I know the importance of letting states lead."

She said the health insurance exchanges will increase competition between health insurance companies and that will result in better rates and policies for individuals and small businesses.

Sebelius and IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman also released proposed rules on tax credits to help people buy private insurance, and procedures to check income and eligibility.


Lana Christie-Hayes 6 years, 7 months ago

It's bad enough when a politician misses the boat.. but Brownback threw a hand grenade and sank this one!! He is such a fool idiot. He's killing opportunities in Kansas like no tomorrow! Maybe that's what he's counting on.. who knows??

somebodynew 6 years, 7 months ago

Nothing like keeping us further behind times. Now we will get whatever somebody else thinks is good for us. And all those jobs that could have been created for awhile.....Oh, but he didn't campaign on that or anything, I am sure all he talked about was this great social agenda that he has been carrying out.

Rusty Thomas 6 years, 7 months ago

Giving back federal $$$$ -----pretty darn stupid! An influx of that kind of money would have helped in many ways: jobs, more insurance options, jobs, possible lower health insurance costs, jobs, helping the Kansas Insurance Department implement needed services, jobs...what more can I say? Oh, yeah, let's elect somebody else for Governor next time. After all, this is the Land of Oz and I am sure there is a scarecrow with a brain somewhere out there over the rainbow. Brownback doesn't even have a heart. So sad for our wonderful state.

Edwin Rothrock 6 years, 7 months ago

Bad for Kansas, but it will sell well with Tea Partiers when he runs for vice-president w/ Perry.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

There was a fascinating comment by Brownback on this on another story.

He said the reason he turned it down was because he had concerns the money wouldn't continue to be there from the federal government over time.

So, he doesn't mind relying on the federal government, or the "strings", or anything else - he just thought the funding would dry up.


deec 6 years, 7 months ago

Maybe if he's so concerned about the deficit and the money not continuing, he can go ahead and give back all the thousands of dollars in farm subsidies he's received over the years as well.

lucky_guy 6 years, 7 months ago

Not yet as it still has to go to SCOTUS. Unless you believe that SCOTUS will go along as well.

lunacydetector 6 years, 7 months ago

kansas is fighting for our constitutional rights to keep us from being penalized by fines or jail time by the united states government through agents of the i.r.s. if we don't purchase health insurance?

can't google be used to find insurance rates?

Joe Hyde 6 years, 7 months ago

Ah, yes -- those irksome federal dollars that one day might dry up.

Our Republican-dominated Legislature and Gov. Brownback (well, Saint Sam can do this autocratically) had better get to work right now returning to Washington the millions we receive in annual federal highway dollars. Also, they should contact the Defense Dept. and insist that the Army's 1st Division in Ft. Riley and the Command College in Ft. Leavenworth both be relocated to another state immediately so that our darling Kansas can be properly sterilized of those military incomes.

While they're at it they better notify the USDA that commencing next Friday at 5pm our governor will issue an edict barring Kansas farmers from receiving any manner of federal farm subsidy. (The exception being corporate farms, of course.)

Oh, almost forgot: Open the gates and let all the water out of the Corps and BLM lakes, and close down the federal wildlife refuges. That surface water and all those critters can finally quit loitering here, just move along please to another state where their existence attracts business activity spurred by distribution of federal dollars.

I swear, this God Squad administration we have in Topeka right now thinks and behaves as though ignorance were a virtue.

sciencegeek 6 years, 7 months ago

Riverrat makes a good point. If we don't want the strings attached for health care, why do we accept the strings that come with highway funds? Or farm subsidies? Or defense? Could it be because those strings aren't attached to a program pushed by a Democratic president?

The double-talk and hypocrisy of Brownback and Co. is unequaled.

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