Archive for Saturday, September 10, 2011

Legislator upset that $85M contract for health reform accepted

September 10, 2011


— A state legislator who applied pressure on Gov. Sam Brownback to reject a $31.5 million federal grant because it was related to federal health reform is now taking aim at an even larger grant.

Rep. Charlotte O’Hara, R-Overland Park, said the recently announced $85 million contract between the state and Accenture to install a state-of-the-art computerized system for Medicaid and other services is also related to health reform. Ninety percent of the cost of the project is funded by the federal government.

“I’m really disappointed and my confidence in the Brownback Administration is in tatters,” O’Hara said in her most recent newsletter.

She said the Accenture contract means the state will build a platform that will comply with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

O’Hara said that goes against the wishes of a majority of Kansans and a recent Kansas Republican Party resolution that calls for an end to all efforts that would implement components of the ACA, thought by some to be President Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation.

“I simply don’t understand why the Brownback administration would so blindly continue down this road when the good folks of Kansas and the State Committee men and women of the Republican Party have spoken so clearly on this issue,” she said.

Brownback officials maintain that the contract to build and implement the Kansas Eligibility Enforcement System, or KEES, is unrelated to the ACA, specifically the development of a health insurance exchange. The exchange, as required by the ACA, will be a one-stop shop for people to buy health insurance and receive subsidies if they are eligible.

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer stated that Kansas “will use a combination of state and federal funds to develop KEES to meet Kansas’ needs without the kind of strings that tied the early innovator grant to the implementation of federalized health care and the individual mandate.”

In August, Brownback, a Republican, rejected the $31.5 million “early innovator” grant despite having supported the grant earlier. Critics suggested he bowed to pressure within his party.

But O’Hara said the information technology of KEES will comply with that of the federal health reform. “Basically, it’s as though the administration was building a car, but refused to call it a car because they were only going to build the chassis, body, drive train, wheels, tires, etc. etc., but they were not going to install the engine, therefore it’s not a car,” she said.


easyliving 6 years, 4 months ago

“I’m really disappointed and my confidence in the Brownback Administration is in tatters,”

Welcome back Mrs O'Hare....Where have you been for the last 8 months?

I suggest you return to your hole.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 4 months ago

I doubt seriously that a legislator from Johnson County speaks for the rest of the state. The only citizens O'Hare speaks for are the extremely wealthy in her own county and the legislators in Sedgewick County that were bought and paid for by the Koch's. As for Brownback "caving in to pressure", of course when the two richest counties in the state speak, Brownback listens. He doesn't give a rats ass about the rest of the state. it still makes my blood boil that the state paid for legislators to attend the ALEC conference. More and more people in this state, including members of BB's own party, are waking up to the fact that, as far as BB is concerned, this state stops west of Wichita and his approval ratings are reflecting it. If they keep on tanking we can start seeing a reflection of this at the polls and being a "Brownback man (woman)" will become as much of a liability as being a "Bush man" was back in '08.

somebodynew 6 years, 4 months ago

"She said the Accenture contract means the state will build a platform that will comply with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act."

With the one big exception not being pointed out, even by her. Now the money goes to 'Friends in TEXAS', as opposed to providing jobs here in Kansas. Which, and I may be wrong here, was a campaign platform. Oh well, so was the economy and a couple of other key things that got forgotten in the social agenda.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 4 months ago

"In every democracy, the people get the government they deserve." - Alexis de Tocqueville

P Allen Macfarlane 6 years, 4 months ago


I often don't agree with you, but on this one I am in total agreement.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 4 months ago

But, the USA is a federal representative republic...not a true democracy.

Brian Laird 6 years, 4 months ago

A representative republic is still a form of democracy. Yes, it is not a direct democracy, but it is still a subset of the general term "democracy".

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 4 months ago

Funny how she completely misses that this is being paid for with stimulus money.

And Colyer certainly isn't offering up that stimulus money is paying for this.

Stimulus money paying for Obamacare.

mloburgio 6 years, 4 months ago

Kansas not pursuing federal prevention dollars

Major federal initiative will bypass Kansas because no one applied for grant The federal government is poised to start spending $900 million nationwide over the next five years in an effort to battle costly chronic ailments such as obesity and diabetes.

The initiative is considered the single largest push to date by the national government to encourage disease prevention. But Kansas likely won’t see a dollar of that money.

Why not? Well, one big reason is that no one here asked.

The July 15 deadline for submitting applications for the so-called Community Transformation Grants has come and gone.

Alceste 6 years, 4 months ago

What is beyond amusing is the blunt reality that the Texas use of Accenture to install a state-of-the-art computerized system for Medicaid and other services (SNAP [food stamps], Cash Assistance, etc.) was an utter failure.

Read about it here:

and here: you may read blog posts from workers who were and are in the belly of the beast of the state of Texas clone of Kansas SRS providing blow by blow facts of just what a mess was created.

kugrad 6 years, 4 months ago

Since when does one state get to decide it does not have to follow federal law?

Rep. O'Hara argues that the people of KS have spoken on this (health care reform) issue. Oh really? When? The only logical response is that she is referring to the election in which the majority of voters in this state did not vote for Obama. If that is true, then her argument is way off base. If the last presidential election was a referendum on health care reform, then the decision of the American people was for health care reform. Obama won. The people chose health care reform. Many Kansans voted for Obama even though more did not. Just as one county cannot decide to ignore Kansas state laws simply because a majority of its residents did not vote for Brownback and/or do not like the law, a state cannot go against federal law simply because they don't like it. I'm tired of being Brownback'd over and over again. The answer is at the ballot box and, more importantly, the work that goes on between elections.

Josh Brumm 6 years, 4 months ago

Since when does one state get to decide if it follows federal law or not? Since Socialism & birth certificate, that's when! : p

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

The lady is a contemptible POS. It she had her way, the elderly would be out millions of federal dollars in exchange for some symbolic political capital. Outrageous. Simply outrageous.

Getaroom 6 years, 4 months ago

Josh: get off the birther and Socialism schtick! Obama is a Centrist and the birth certificate non-issue was a lie created by a Jewish Lawyer back east and perpetrated further by racist neo conservatives in the Democratic Party and racists in the Tea Party. You are way off the mark. Texas - a self appointed "too big to fail" state has long been a hot head in the states rights issues and Rick Perry is just the most recent nut case to take to the podium. Now that Texas is burning in it's own Hell, it leaves one to wonder if God loves them more than other states, as Perry would like everyone to think. His "loyalty and patriotism" to the state and United States rests only in his own mind, because his actions do not support his bravado. A bunch of ruthless bible thumping ego centered, self serving politicians, which includes Brownbackward and Perry probably should share a nest in some far off galaxy where they can have their own everything and openly pray to never again have a black president.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

"a lie created by a Jewish Lawyer back east"

What difference does it make if the lawyer was Jewish, or Christian, or Muslim, or atheiest, or Chinese, or Catholic, or Buddhist, or a follower of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It adds nothing to the story, and suggests that you are an anti-Semite.

Alceste 6 years, 4 months ago

Well then, let's not use the word goyim, ever, please. Also, I am not a "white person". I'm a Celt. Kindly respect my race.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

How in the world did "goyim" find its way into your convoluted head. Apparently you have a "Jew hangup." Go away, Celt.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 4 months ago

As evidenced by all of the squealing that happened after Obama said he was going to make the richest citizens "pay their fair share".

Gedanken 6 years, 4 months ago

One of these days I would love to see one of your mythical rich people that earn their money each day with blood, sweat and tears AND with no help from the federal government either directly or indirectly. I have yet to find one.

Gedanken 6 years, 4 months ago

Oh Liberty One - just because you assert it is a straw man fallacy doesn't mean it is true. Easy to refute isn't it?

camper 6 years, 4 months ago

I support health care reform but I agree with the legislator for a different reason. I know from experience that the largest benefactor of this money will be the consulting group that received the bid. An expensive information system will not necessarily translate to better health care if you analyze the cost vs. benefit. And once the system is implemented, you are held hostage by the very company who implemented it. It takes even more money for software licensing and support. Not to mention this consulting company outsources much of its work to staff in other countries. Most who are in IT know what I am talking about. Expensive IT systems divert money that could be used elsewhere. Unfortunately corporate America and now it seems the Feds have fallen for this sales pitch.

Gedanken 6 years, 4 months ago

Any custom built software for the government should be open source and well documented This way the government is not held hostage by that company. It would also allow the benefit to be spread among the individual states instead of paying for the same thing over and over.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 4 months ago

The medical insurance industry loves that $1.4 trillion tax dollars that come their way annually. Talk about a pig that was squealing at the thought of Single Payer Medicare Insurance.

Perish the thought that taxpayers could have a choice of lower cost practical medical insurance only having tax dollars bypass the medical insurance industry.

Obamacare is better coverage than the status quo but not near as practical as Single Payer Medicare Insurance not by a long shot.

When are elected officals going to allow taxpayers to make their own choice?

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

Although she may be misguided in this aspect I'm glad to see that there are legislators who are concerned about blocking the implementation of the Obamacare law. "We need to pass it so we can know what is in it"...Pelosi...doesn't work...

tomatogrower 6 years, 4 months ago

She would really be angry about my family. A year ago our 22-year-old son didn't have a job, so we put him on our insurance. Good thing too, because he ended up needing some expensive health care. Now he has a job with insurance, and they couldn't turn him down, because of a pre-existing condition. I'm real sure she would have preferred that my son would have joined her church, and let them provide him health care. I'm sure she donates lots of money to faith based programs to help people without insurance. Oh wait, is there a faith based program for that? What church does she belong to? I'll call them and find out.

Jan Rolls 6 years, 4 months ago

Tomatogrower has a good story and there are millions of others like hers. Ms. O'hara teaparty could care less about them. She is just a stupid person with no compassion for anyone except the rich. Idiots all.

overthemoon 6 years, 4 months ago

Ha! You and I have been on the same path. Huge PAC with large number of employee contributions. Most all paid to RNC and RCC. Most interesting is that even thought the current and former CEO's are Americans, the company is registered/licensed in Dublin, Ireland. Before that it was in Bermuda. Tax evaders.

camper 6 years, 4 months ago

For those who recognize me, I'm a confirmed bleeding heart liberal. I believe the government can use its collective resources to make things better and provide assistance to those in need. But I also understand this does not always work because funds invariably wind up in the wrong hands and do little to help. Unfortunately this only provides ammunition to conservative theory. And in this instance, they have a case in point. I have to reluctantly agree with the legislator, and recognize conservatives have a good point, though they may not be coming to the same conclusions via the way I do.

I know exactly how expensive consulting groups give a sales pitch and explain how improved IT structure will improve operations. Most of what I see is a very complex launching of computer software that distrupts business operations and requires an enormous amount of staff training. I also see enourmous amounts of software licensing and support fees once the system is launched.

I sign off on consulting bill each month, and my eyes continue to be alarmed at the outrageous hourly rates. I m also alarmed that these employee rates are outsourced to IT employees who work overseas (no dis on them....they are very good people). Many of these overseas employees replaced American professionals who sadly in many cases were replaced and even had to train their overseas counterparts.

Allowing this contract is a classic example of why government solution does not work. And this is coming from someone who strongly believes government intervention can work if it is done correctly.

camper 6 years, 4 months ago

Oh no. This money is going to Accenture. This is what so many Corporations are doing these days. Accenture delivers a good sales pitch, but be prepared for the costs that come afterward. This is the corporate bloat that I have seen. And is the prime example of runaway costs. I approve Accenture bills, and I tell you all, the lowest hourly rate I see is $85 an hour. Most of them are over 1oo bucks an hour. This is stupid. For a brief moment, I agree with conservatives. Lets not fork over these dollars to Accenture. They shift payroll to India and leave many US IT programers unemployed. I am not being dramatic. I see this every day in my line of work.

overthemoon 6 years, 4 months ago

And the company is headquartered/licensed in Ireland. What's wrong with locally owned Cerner Corp that does the same thing. Might be the huge Accenture PAC??

overthemoon 6 years, 4 months ago

I don't know why posts get repeated. I hit 'submit' only once.

overthemoon 6 years, 4 months ago

And the company is headquartered/licensed in Ireland. What's wrong with locally owned Cerner Corp that does the same thing. Might be the huge Accenture PAC??

overthemoon 6 years, 4 months ago

And the company is headquartered/licensed in Ireland. What's wrong with locally owned Cerner Corp that does the same thing. Might be the huge Accenture PAC??

camper 6 years, 4 months ago

I plead to Conservatives, those of who I disagree with most often. This Accenture contract is nothing more than financial bloat. I see it every day and I know what it is. Please do what you can to not support this. This is wasted money and I can prove it if anyone wants to debate me on this. For once in a long time I am Conservative. Say no to an Accenture contract. I can tell you it is money down the drain. This is government waste and bastardizez the true notion that our Government can help and assist.

bolshavik_vw 6 years, 4 months ago

I love when Charlotte O Hara thinks she knows what the majority of people in Kansas want. Please! Has she gone around to everyone in all 105 Counties and asked them? Has she mailed a Questionare out to all of the registered voters in Kansas to get these results? She probally asked people who are not able to vote, or who do not vote period, or just asked about 3 people out of the entire state, and told it as if it were a majority. Wouldn't suprise me?

tomatogrower 6 years, 4 months ago

Yes, she is positive that Kansan's want teachers laid off. She is positive that they want fewer jobs, and that our government should be run by people who failed in other states, like Florida. Everyone in her house and her church believe this, so it must be all of Kansas.

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