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Archive for Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Brownback postponing release of Medicaid plan

October 25, 2011, 10:47 a.m. Updated October 26, 2011, 12:31 a.m.

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— Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration is delaying the release of its plan for overhauling the Medicaid program in Kansas until next month so that it has the most current state revenue projections possible, his spokeswoman said Tuesday.

State officials, legislative researchers and university economists are scheduled to meet Nov. 4 to draft a new fiscal forecast that will project tax collections and other revenues through June 2013. The state’s current projections go only through June 2012, and Brownback’s spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag noted that the governor and legislators will use the new numbers in budgeting next year.

Administration officials had said they expected to release a plan by the end of this month for overhauling Medicaid, which covers medical services for the needy, with total annual spending in Kansas approaching $2.8 billion. Brownback has said his goal is to decrease costs while improving services.

Any proposed changes are likely to have budget implications, and Jones-Sontag said administration officials decided they didn’t want to make a plan public before they had up-to-date revenue projections.

“It would be — what is that phrase? — an exercise in futility,” Jones-Sontag told The Associated Press. “The numbers wouldn’t be accurate.”

Brownback also is working on a plan to revise the state’s tax code, with an eye toward reducing or eliminating state individual and corporate income taxes. That plan also was supposed to be released by the end of October, but the administration has pushed back an announcement until after the new fiscal forecast as well.

The administration’s effort to draft a Medicaid plan is led by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, a surgeon and former state senator. Critics have worried Brownback’s administration will try to make it tougher for Kansans to qualify for Medicaid coverage or reduce the payments to doctors, clinics and hospitals that provide services to program participants.

Colyer has said any payment reduction to health care providers is “a last resort” and it wouldn’t be close to the temporary 10 percent reduction in payments ordered by Democratic Gov. Mark Parkinson in 2009 to ease the state’s budget problems. Colyer also has said the plan won’t narrow eligibility requirements to reduce the number of people covered.

The state’s Medicaid program covered about 332,000 people as of September, almost 16 percent more than in September 2010, and the program’s costs have increased 48 percent during the past eight years, stressing the state’s budget. The federal government, which oversees states’ programs and typically provides about 60 percent of the funds, would have to approve some major changes.

Comments

Getaroom 3 years, 2 months ago

Brownbackward is not a friend of the public and is not taking advantage of something that has been in place for 7 years and well tested. He is nothing but reactive to the Affordable Care Act in total, being the good Republican self serving dog he is. If he would have tuned in to or attended the Congressional Republican Health Care Caucus this week and understood what health care exchanges really are in stead of just putting on a show of solidarity with is fellow Christian Crusaders, he might have been aware of a program that includes the entire US healthcare system put online and accessible by anyone and including hospitals. This point of service resource offers programs that match people to services. Check out: The Foundation for Health Coverage Education and as well look into: coverageforall.org.

LMH should be adopting this tremendous resource program to save millions on emergency room visits that go unpaid and which is being used by other hospitals to gain access to health services for the uninsured. Unpaid Emergency room visits are costing all of us millions of dollars everyday - and that is factual. This is not a joke, a ruse, a socialist plot, Obama created or driven, divisive or a lie. It is there for any individual who does not have coverage, or can be utilized by organizations that provide point of care services to gain immediate access to programs already in place to serve the under served. And with 5 simple questions that information can be gained for any uninsured person and implemented right away. All of the hard questions have been asked and answered in the development of this model for healthcare and it puts people first, profits second, but properly accounted for and respected. Educate yourselves LJW readers instead of complaining. And a note aside: some of the things implemented in this program were already adopted by what is commonly and negatively referred to as ObamaCare and they have already been working for you - like it or not.

It would serve the LJW staff to do a full story on this program and one that is available to any hospital for a reasonable cost and would save millions of dollars right from the beginning. An indepth, at times almost hostile inquiry, of this model and program can be viewed on CSPN-3 on line. It is quite enlightening and timely. NPR did a very short story on this topic recently. You know the evil communist NPR! NOT!

George_Braziller 3 years, 2 months ago

I've been providing Home Health services to an elderly woman for 2 1/2 years. The services are paid for through the Medicaid HCBS Frail Elderly Waiver.

In August she had her service hours reduced. This week I received notice that I'm also getting a pay cut. I'm now expected to provide the same amount of services in less time for less money.

I've started doing her laundry at my house because there now aren't enough hours in her plan of care to get everything done within the allotted time.

verity 3 years, 2 months ago

And if this causes her to have to go into a nursing home, won't the state be paying more for services?

That is the problem with so many of the cuts to services---it will cost more in the long run.

pace 3 years, 2 months ago

Loss of service not only drive some to nursing homes, it hastens some deaths. Our elderly deserve honest care, The money saved by these cut backs go directly to cover the tax cuts to the richest. Koch care is ugly.

George_Braziller 3 years, 2 months ago

Of course it would cost more. She can live on her own but just needs someone checking on her. Her kids don't do it I'm the one who cooks and cleans and makes sure she has her pill box filled for the week.

I even float her funds when she needs some of her vitamin supplements before her social security check has arrived.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

Good job, George. Too bad Sam thinks you have to be such a good guy on your own dime so the Koch Bros. can afford to hang out with ever more fabulous people.

pace 3 years, 2 months ago

good for you George, The ones farthest removed from the front line often feel the more they abuse the front line workers, the more they will get out of them. Poor management. Administrators (governor) should be paid less and spend a day a month doing what they ask others to do. I like the Undercover boss show. It often reveals to the CEO the difficulty of the jobs they give to others and how valuable the front line workers are.

verity 3 years, 2 months ago

I'm wondering if maybe Brownback has realized that his (and the Koch Brother's) plans to destroy the working classes and turn our country into a theocracy with a small aristocracy and the rest serfs is not working out quite as planned. The intended serfs are getting angry and fighting back. Brownback may still believe God will deliver what he wants, but I think the Koch Brothers are a little smarter than Brownback.

Maybe the postponement is because they're regrouping.

verity 3 years, 2 months ago

And what about the people who are unable to work that long? Or who have already retired and can't stand for eight hours at a McDonald's or grocery store? Those who worked hard, played by the rules, saved, invested and paid income tax on Roth IRAs so they would have less income taxes when they retired?

As Brownback's plan to do away with state income taxes will certainly cause local sales and property taxes to rise, as will some of the Republican presidential hopefuls, some of us are royally screwed. You play by the rules and then they change the rules.

Carol Bowen 3 years, 2 months ago

Postponing retirement might build the 401k, but it is very difficult to increase cash flow for other savings. Pay off your credit cards and loans. Hope the stock market and the economy stabilize. Hope government units become more productive. Vote. We really do not have control over these variables. Just hope.

mr_right_wing 3 years, 2 months ago

I'll repeat his again; this won't be the last painful cut. I was in the majority of Kansans who voted for Mr. Brownback, I voted for the man who I knew would make those very unpopular and painful cuts...painful cuts to which I am not immune. This has to be done because of irresponsibility in the past, if we were to continue as we were these cuts eventually would have to be even more painful (hard to imagine I know...)

For those of you who don't miss any chance to get on here and belly-ache, you should be thankful for Gov. Brownback...you'll have plenty more to whine and moan about in the future.

jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

The "majority of Kansans" did not in fact vote for Brownback.

I have corrected this mistake numerous times, and yet you continue to repeat an untruth - I wonder why that is.

  1. There are many more Kansans than there are eligible voters in KS.
  2. About 50% of eligible voters in KS didn't vote at all.
  3. About 2/3 of those who chose to vote voted for Brownback.

Thus he was elected with about 2/3 of 50% of eligible voters, or about 1/3 of the eligible voters in KS.

The percentage of all Kansans would be even smaller than that.

chootspa 3 years, 2 months ago

Why does he have to make "painful cuts?" He could raise taxes instead. He could stop sending federal money to other states. He could stop hiring two administrators to handle a job one was doing before.

pittstatebb 3 years, 2 months ago

Just to be factual, we are no longer in a recession. There is an economic definition for a recession and it does not currently apply.

Why should states spend less money in times of economic downturns? Are the services that states provide needed less or more in a recession? Are there less students in public schools, less inmates in prisons, etc? One could make a pretty convincing arguement that the need for state services in fact increases during down econominc times (see in the overall increase in K-12 public enrollment).

Maybe states should plan ahead for times of lower tax revenue, maybe they should not be so quick to decrease tax rates/give away tax breaks during good times, maybe then we would not have to reduce services or raise taxes. Or maybe we should find the right size of government and stick to that size no matter if tax revenues increase or decrease.

I do not see tax revenue as the limiting factor to state services. That should be need. Tax revenue can be increased/decreased to meet need. Need is much harder for the state to have an effect upon.

jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

Yes.

If we actually saved money when times were good, we'd have a reserve for when times aren't so good.

That' would be good :-)

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 2 months ago

"A recession means there is not as much money comming (sic) in..."

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2011/sep/30/kansas-tax-collections-exceed-estimates-about-5-pe/?kansas_legislature

Great little theory destroyed by a dirty little fact.

Jimo 3 years, 2 months ago

"This has to be done because of irresponsibility in the past."

Actually, no. This does not have "to be done." Let's at least have the courage of the truth -- Brownback wants to do this. Even if the budget was running surpluses, Brownback would be demanding cuts .... just like he always has, in good times and bad. Indeed, what we see from this article is that even while insisting cuts have "to be done" Brownback is simultaneously working on plans to also cut revenues in order to pay for---even more!---tax cuts for the wealthy.

"irresponsibility in the past."

Surely you can't mean the Republican legislature that has passed every budget in this state for decade? Say it ain't so Mr. Whackadoodle!

"I voted for the man who I knew would make those very unpopular and painful cuts."

How's that? Brownback didn't detail these cuts pre-election. Do you read everyone's mind or just Brownback's? Again and again, we've seen this from the GOP in the last year -- springing radical proposals on the public that they never breathed a word about when running for office.

jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

That's right - in fact he promised to "protect" education and social service funding while campaigning.

verity 3 years, 2 months ago

Guess I better figure out a way to stockpile some morphine so I can go painlessly rather than end my life starving on the curb.

Jan Rolls 3 years, 2 months ago

The gov and the lt gov weren't they in that picture dumb and dumber?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

Sam is trying to figure out how to screw the poor, the infirm, kids and the elderly without seeming like a heartless jerk.

Good luck with that one, Sam.

Well, not really. Bad luck with that one, Sam.

chootspa 3 years, 2 months ago

It's the same playbook. Make services harder to receive and then claim a victory because fewer claim them.

tomatogrower 3 years, 2 months ago

And they accused the health care plan of "death panels". The Republicans won't have panels, they will just let the elderly die long slow deaths. Really prolife, aren't they.

pace 3 years, 2 months ago

I know this is odd, but I am surprised there isn't more support from the conservatives. Where is their anger at the economic conditions and at the odd legal setups, their anger at the debt. Many have lost jobs and homes, their retirement money halved, their children hit with joblessness. Can they believe the Bush tax cuts have produced jobs? Do they believe the corporations and wealthiest haven't bought congress. That congress and the Senate of both parties are being paid to give lucrative tax cuts and loophole to those who don't need it. If we want to get out of debt and cut the deficit we have to pull together as a country. Do they really expect economic recovery through cutting teachers, police and infrastructure. Does NOT repairing bridges make sense to them. Do homeless families make sense or do they want to see families win their own bread, own a home, become better educated than their parents. I do not understand their hatred of science. I don't understand how they can watch our labor force be turned into second class citizens. Didn't they have fathers and mothers who worked for a living, didn't they show up and work at a job?

pace 3 years, 2 months ago

Rant , part 2, sorry hit post too soon, Have they never worried that their family couldn't afford health insurance. Don't they have a relative denied coverage or cheated by an insurance company. They seem to have faith in the insurance companies. Do they want an insurance company answerable to nothing but their stockholders, with no regard to their customers or for their contract. Obama care is sneered at, while it already helps people rebuild their life.

jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

I also wonder why conservatives aren't upset about a lot of things.

The only answer I can come up with is that our current partisan political climate has taken precedence over common sense.

Jimo 3 years, 2 months ago

"I also wonder why conservatives aren't upset about a lot of things."

Which ones? The 1/3rd of Republicans that want redistribution of incomes? The 40% of Republicans that want Congress to pass the President's jobs plan? The 65% of Republicans that want to increase taxes on the wealthy?

In a NYT poll just released today, 70% of voters think the Republicans in Congress care only about the wealthy. You can't get that number without quite a lot of GOP voters agreeing.

Conservatives are quite upset about things. The problem is that the elected Republican officials don't care what Republican voters want ... only what the Koch Bros. insist they get in return for their bribes.

cato_the_elder 3 years, 2 months ago

From Jimo the Marxist moonbat, who has previously said, "The only feudalism we have in America is the concentration of the nation's wealth in the hands of a few."

William Weissbeck 3 years, 2 months ago

I predict a news drop on both the Medicaid and tax plans on Nov. 23 at 5 PM, the day before Thanksgiving. And by the way, the issues of Medicaid have been studied for years if not decades. When I first worked with SRS in '83 the effort then was to steer participants away from the ER for routine stuff. There is little need for further study. It boils down to whether the State wants to fund the program, pay the providers, and fund alternatives to ER and nursing home care. Otherwise, you just engage in creative accounting by delaying payments, cutting reimbursements (which per market forces reduces the number of providers willing to participate), do nothing about the ER situation because the State doesn't pay the hospitals anyway and the hospitals know not to squawk, and mess with home health programs to squeeze families and min. wage workers.

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