Archive for Tuesday, August 30, 2011

No insurance exchange in Kansas until court settles federal health reform, officials say

August 30, 2011, 5:06 p.m. Updated August 30, 2011, 5:15 p.m.


— Gov. Sam Brownback's administration on Tuesday said Kansas would not implement a health insurance exchange until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether the federal health reform law is constitutional.

The statement was made by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer as he and other Cabinet officials announced the award of a $135 million contract with Accenture of Austin, Texas, to put in place a computerized system that they said will make it easier for people to apply for social services and also increase identification of fraud in Medicaid and other programs.

The Brownback administration went out of its way to say that although 90 percent of the funding for the planned Kansas Eligibility Enforcement System, or KEES, would come from the federal government, it will not come from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and it does not commit the state to develop an exchange.

The exchanges are required under the health reform law and are designed to help determine eligibility for people to get subsidies to purchase insurance.

Kansas had won a $31.5 million federal grant to implement the exchange. Brownback had initially supported the grant but then reversed field and rejected the funding. He said there were too many strings attached, but critics said he bowed to pressure within the Republican Party to fight the federal health reform law at every opportunity.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, also a Republican, has vowed to continue working on the exchange issues. Colyer said she can continue working on it, but that Kansas will not implement it until a court challenge to the law has been settled. The U.S. Supreme Court could decide a case on the law next year.

KEES is expected to be operational by 2013. Officials said it will cost about $85 million to set up and $10 million per year to operate over the first five years. But they said it is expected to pay for itself through savings from curbing waste, fraud and abuse in state medical and cash and food assistance programs.

"We will achieve program reliability and integrity across all facets of health and human services in the state of Kansas," said Colyer.

For example, officials said determining whether a person is eligible for Medicaid will be reduced from up to 45 days now to just several days under the new system.

Others at the news conference were Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Robert Moser, Social and Rehabilitation Services Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr. and Andy Allison, the director of KDHE's Division of Health Care Finance.


KS 6 years ago

Makes sense. Don't waste the money.

ksjayhawk74 6 years ago

Except, this program actually saves money.

ksjayhawk74 6 years ago

Except, this program actually saves money.

skinny 6 years ago

How do you figure that? Where do you think the money is going to come from???

Chris Golledge 6 years ago

Hmm, can you show us anything in the constitution that says that the Bible, or any religious text, should be used as the foundation of law?

Brian Laird 6 years ago

I think the post (and your response) may be an example of Poe's law.... "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing." (from Wikipedia)

Pastor_Bedtime 6 years ago

You know, I think you're right. Oh well....

Pastor_Bedtime 6 years ago

Your bible ~ or interpretation of it ~ holds absolutely no jurisdiction over me or my country. And since there's nothing in the Bible about using the Internet, you must be a Heathen. Time to Repent!

Bob_Keeshan 6 years ago

Indeed, spend stimulus money instead to implement an Obamacare program, then change the name at the last minute to throw off the press.

This is Obama money being spent on an Obama program.

skinny 6 years ago

I agree, as it will be ruled unconstitutional.

somebodynew 6 years ago

Sorry, but by this time I don't trust anything that comes out of these people's mouths. I would have thought we would have heard about this new system they just signed up for before this, but then again - it doesn't matter what the people think as long as their god tells them it is OK it must be.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"The statement was made by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer as he and other Cabinet officials announced the award of a $135 million contract with Accenture of Austin, Texas,"

Sounds like someone's prayers were answered during Sammie's trip to Texas.

Scott Drummond 6 years ago

And who wants to lay odds on how much more than $135M this deal ends up costing us? Those losses on the Tiger ads are going to take a while to recoup, after all, and who better than the rubes in Kansas to make a dent.

notanota 6 years ago

Gotta support Perry's "jobs miracle" somehow, or else brownie won't get to run for veep.

Orwell 6 years ago

Right you are – Kansas tax dollars being spent to create more minimum-wage Texas jobs.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

While it's entirely possible that the activist Roberts Supreme Court could go fishing for a case to rule on, as it did in Citizens United, there is only one aspect of the law that's been ruled as unconstitutional by an appeals court-- the mandate to buy insurance from a private insurance company (there's another appeals court that has ruled the opposite.) Traditionally, that's all the Supreme Court would rule on, meaning that no matter how the rule, most of "Obamacare" would remain in force.

Bottomline-- this is just more Drama Queen crap from the Repugs.

jayhawxrok 6 years ago

Of course not, Brownback cares nothing for the people of Kansas, his mission is to endear himself further with the far, far right so he can go be a moron in the Senate.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years ago

Can't wait to see this "pay for itself".

By the way, implementing Medicaid reforms is part of Obamacare. As previously reported in this newspaper, this is K-MED.

KEES is just a new name to try and distance it from the Affordable Care Act, but KEES is fulfilling a federal requirement under Obamacare, as previously reported in this paper.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years ago

And it should be noted, this federal funding is not Obamacare money, that's true.

It is stimulus money.

somebodynew 6 years ago

And, it is Federal Money. I am getting so confused about WHICH Federal money is good money and which is not. I guess if it is helping people in Texas it must be good money, so good in fact this is the first I heard of this program. Was there any kind of selection process or was this just prayed about when BB visited Texas awhile back ???

Liberty275 6 years ago

There is no good federal money. There is only federal money the citizens part with so they can have a functional government (and so they don't get sent to prison). Unfortunately, what we are getting for our money is a dysfunctional nanny state ruled by intellectual little people and outright crooks and a god-awfully huge machine for killing brown people.

Orwell 6 years ago

One of the remaining unquestioned rights is the right to leave if you find America to be such a terrible place.


cato_the_elder 6 years ago

"Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, also a Republican,...."

In name only. One of the biggest disappointments in recent memory.

Liberty275 6 years ago

I don't know why the right is fighting this. Let the mandate go into effect and force 26 year old hopey changey ding-a-lings to part with $500 every month instead of partying or buying one of those ugly new mustangs. That will be enough to shove a nice swath of them towards libertarianism and the blowback against the socialist-leaning left just might save this country from busting at the nanny-state seams.

In the meantime, those of us that have paid our dues and already have health insurance because it's a smart gamble will remain largely unaffected.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

More likely, it'll push everyone towards single-payer, which would save the country a few hundred $billion a year over the current system, as well as the "new' system, and improve access to healthcare in the process.

Liberty275 6 years ago

Single payer is a joke. First off, it's impossible. We pay for "single payer" for 50 years just so we might get 15 years of shoddy coverage. Real shoddy. Ask AARP why they sell so many supplemental policies. Medicare is garbage.

Second, we can't rely on the government to pay the bills they already have, much less some silly "medicare for all" scheme. And really, do you want the government to know every ailment you have? They will because they aren't going to pay for treatment unless they confirm you actually have a problem.

The hopey-changey crowd might be willing to turn their health over to a government that doesn't care of they live or die. Nobody that values their health care would. At least when you pay a private company and they fail to hold up their end, you have legal recourse and when you are done with that you can change insurers.

Single payer is worse than a pipe dream, it is a ludicrous surrender of personal freedom.

As for your "new system" it's the same as the old system with more graft enforced by the federal government shoving their metaphorical bayonets in more people's backs. They aren't fooling everyone.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Is that all you have to offer-- ideologically based assertions, but absolutely no suggestions as to how to fix our very, very broken healthcare system?

As disappointing as Obama, "Obamacare," and "hopey-changy" have been, it's miles better than your purely ideologically based vacuity.

downriverdan 6 years ago

Sam and friends are just following the playbook of ALEC. The Kansas members of ALEC who Sam and friends get their marching orders from is: Sen. Ray Merrick, Sen. Susan Wagle. The people who pay them for their dirty work are: National Chairman
Mr. W. Preston Baldwin, Centerpoint360 First Vice Chairman Mrs. Sandra Oliver, Bayer Corp. Second Vice Chairman Mr. John Del Giorno, GlaxoSmithKline Treasurer Mr. David Powers, Reynolds American Secretary Ms. Maggie Sans, Wal-Mart Stores Chairman Emeritus Mr. Jerry Watson Ms. Sano Blocker, Energy Future Holdings Mr. Don Bohn, Johnson & Johnson Mr. Jeffrey Bond, PhRMA Mr. William Carmichael, American Bail Coalition Mr. Derek Crawford, Kraft Foods, Inc. Mr. Michael Hubert, Pfizer Inc Ms. Teresa Jennings, Reed Elsevier, Inc. Mr. Kenneth Lane, DIAGEO Mr. Bill Leahy, AT&T Mr. Kelly Mader, Peabody Energy Mr. Richard McArdle, UPS Mr. Bernie McKay, Intuit, Inc. Mr. Mike Morgan, Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC Mr. Gene Rackley, Coca-Cola Refreshments Mr. Daniel Smith, Altria Client Services Mr. Randy Smith, ExxonMobil Corporation Mr. Russell Smoldon, Salt River Project Mr. Roland Spies, State Farm Insurance Co

It is well past time to seperate monied interests from governing.

cato_the_elder 6 years ago

"It is well past time to seperate monied interests from governing."

If you feel that way, you can start with all unions, Hollywood actors and producers, liberal Wall Street financiers and wealthy plaintiffs' contingent fee lawyers. Be my guest.

cato_the_elder 6 years ago

I am awake, especially to the kind of hogwash you're peddling. You simply can't admit that you have no problem whatsoever with unions, Hollywood actors and producers, liberal Wall Street financiers and wealthy plaintiffs' contingent fee lawyers pouring out money hand over fist to left-wing politicians but that you can't tolerate anyone on the other side educating the public about Obamacare, one of the examples you cite.

You're a hypocrite. At least Bozo is consistent in his views.

Paul R Getto 6 years ago

DRD: "It is well past time to seperate (sic) monied interests from governing." ==== Good luck; might as well try to separate the Moon from Earth's gravitational pull. == If the sheeple would wake up, study the issues and actually vote, things might change. As for now, it's not going to happen. If money is speech and corporations are 'people' expect more of the same.

downriverdan 6 years ago

cato_the_elder Are the unions, Hollywood actors and producers, liberal Wall Street financiers and wealthy plaintiffs' contingent fee lawyers offering scholarship money to legislators in order to further their own personal needs? No they are not. These "scholarships" offered by ALEC member corporations are not campaign contributions it is bribery.

cato_the_elder 6 years ago

No, the money has no strings attached.

deec 6 years ago

I wasn't aware states could opt out of federal laws. Learn something new every day.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Expect a neo liberal christian fundamentalists candidate to run against Sandy Praeger.

Also expect Sandy Praeger not to be christian enough and evil.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

"neo liberal christian fundamentalists" sighting! Everyone has to chug whatever drink you are holding. Wait a minute.... "neo liberal"? Have you gotten your copy/pasting all mixed up, merrlll? Don't you usually say "neo convervative"?

George_Braziller 6 years ago

It's interesting how Brownback and his administration like to pick and chose which Supreme Court rulings they want to follow.

Just two days ago they rejected a ruling on water issues.

thinkagain 6 years ago

Why a Texas firm? Brownback acts like he's a Washington politician, not a Kansan.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years ago

Now we've learned that Accenture has "settled" with the US Justice Department for $65 million for overbilling and fraud...

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