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Archive for Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Advocates voice concerns over KanCare proposal

March 13, 2012

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— Several hundred advocates for people with developmental disabilities went to the Statehouse on Tuesday to voice concerns over Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to privatize Medicaid.

Sharon Spratt, chief executive officer of Cottonwood Inc. in Lawrence, was among those who met briefly with Kansas Department of Aging Secretary Shawn Sullivan to discuss the proposed KanCare program.

Spratt and others have been telling the Brownback administration that long-term supports needed for people with developmental disabilities don’t fit with a private program to manage health care costs.

But Spratt said her arguments didn’t get anywhere with Sullivan.

“They really don’t have specifics of good examples from other states,” she said.

A House committee this week will consider bills that would exempt programs for the developmentally disabled from the managed care proposal and require annual audits and evaluations of KanCare contractors.

Comments

Jean Robart 2 years, 9 months ago

Government philosophy---My mind's made up, don't confuse me with the facts!

Kate Rogge 2 years, 9 months ago

Supply-side Jesus says "if God loved you, you wouldn't need our help."

Richard Heckler 2 years, 9 months ago

Private industry loves our tax dollars. The more tax dollars requested the more Gov Brownback will give them. This is wreckanomics not fiscal responsibility.

BigDog 2 years, 9 months ago

Merrill .... Aren't these providers like Cottonwood also private industry? It is funny years ago state employees were opposed to these services, services to seniors and services like foster care going to private business .... now private business is complaining about another private business coming in.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

Cottonwood is a non-profit organization that gets funding from a variety of sources, private and governmental.

And, they're not complaining about other similar organizations, of which there are several.

From what I've heard, the privatized foster care services are pretty awful.

The question is whether or not a private for profit insurance company will do a better job of administering these programs than the government.

Administration claims that services will improve, and costs decrease, seems quite unlikely to me - any efficiencies brought will probably be canceled out by the need to make a profit, for example. And, my prediction is that services will not improve, but get worse.

Other states that have tried this seem to have found just that.

Lenette Hamm 2 years, 9 months ago

They've made their decisions, and unless the legislature stops this ill-advised move in its tracks, it'll go forward. Ms Spratt is correct that Sec. Sullivan cannot come up with good examples from other states. He continues to talk about differences between Kansas and other states that have adopted managed care programs, but he is not comparing apples to apples... If this goes through, there are a lot of people in many populations that will fall through the cracks and just plain get lost. Do you want this for YOUR family members???

sciencegeek 2 years, 9 months ago

It doesn't matter what the legislature, or anyone else, thinks. Brownback can do whatever he wants to on this, and there's no way to stop him. Just like the Arts Commission.

BigDog 2 years, 9 months ago

So..... what are your answers to the continuing spiralling upward costs of Medicaid? On average the annual increase in spending for Medicaid has been 7.5% per year for the last 10 years. These increases alone on a $2.8 billion Medicaid program is an additional cost of $210 million annually with the state paying roughly $85 million in additional cost each year.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

Well, the first thing to do would be to identify why costs are increasing so rapidly.

Why are they?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 9 months ago

Let me give an example how costs could skyrocket, even with the best of intentions. I'll preface what I say by saying it was true not long ago, here in this state. However, changes may have been made so that everything I say might not be exactly accurate here, today. There was requirement that upon placement in a foster home or group home or other facility that a child must be seen by a doctor, a dentist and have an eye exam within 30 days of placement. Agencies usually did this with the first two weeks, just to be sure. Sounds good, right? But what if the child is moved and then moved again. And again. It's not uncommon for a problem child to be placed 10-15 times per year. That 10-15 doctor's appointments, 10-15 eye exams and 10-15 dentist appointments. These are mandated by the state. Of course, doctors charge for their services and the state picks up the tab. Anyone think this becomes an expensive endeavor? It's things like this that cause people to lose faith in government regulations. There is no common sense being used. How many children are in state custody at any given time? A few thousand? it gets expensive in a hurry. So we cut funding for schools, or blame the Koch brothers. We make ourselves feel better by saying Brownbackistan.

BigDog 2 years, 9 months ago

Most of it is on the medical side of the Medicaid system. Hospital costs and general cost of medical care is largest portion, next would be increased costs of care in nursing home care and finally growth in the number of people receiving medical and/or community based services.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

Then, it would seem reasonable and prudent to try to get those costs down.

As a very large customer, couldn't the federal government through Medicaid negotiate a bit with providers, as Medicare used to do with drug companies?

BigDog 2 years, 9 months ago

Medicaid already pays significantly less than Medicare ..... and Medicare pays less than what private insurance pays. It is already difficult, in some areas of the state, to find a doctor who will take on new Medicare patients. Even harder to find those who will take Medicaid. Medicare rates are much lower than private insurance pays. Cutting rates further to medical professionals would make many providers drop taking Medicare and Medicaid.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

Then if private insurance companies took over Medicaid, they'd have to pay less as well, in order to make a profit, or cut services, right?

There's no way they can simply pay more and keep the services, without costing the government more money, is there?

By the way, do you have any suggestions on how to deal with the problem?

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