Archive for Thursday, March 29, 2012

Brownback allies thwart pleas from advocates for those with developmental disabilities to stay out of KanCare

March 29, 2012


— An effort to remove the management of care for those with developmental disabilities from Gov. Sam Brownback's Medicaid privatization plan was thwarted in the House on Thursday.

The dustup occurred when legislators considered House Bill 2789, which would have set up a legislative committee to oversee Brownback's move to contract with private insurance companies to handle the state's $2.9 billion Medicaid program. Under Brownback's plan, the program, which covers health care for the poor, elderly and disabled, would be called KanCare.

State Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, tried to amend the bill to remove those with developmental disabilities from KanCare and maintain their current network of assistance.

Ward was acting on behalf of parents and advocates of those with developmental disabilities who have pleaded with Brownback to leave them alone, saying that the needs of those with developmental disabilities don't fit the managed care system provided by insurance companies.

But Brownback has rejected those pleas and promised that services will improve under KanCare and cost less.

A bi-partisan group of legislators, however, said they were skeptical of those claims and supported Ward's amendment.

"My constituents have been begging for this," said state Rep. Ron Worley, R-Lenexa. "They are not simply concerned, they are scared to death."

State Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield, said the parents of children with developmental disabilities fear having to fight insurance companies over assistance for their sons and daughters.

Brownback administration officials were on the floor of the House busily talking with legislators.

State Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, and chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, said if the care of developmentally disabled Kansans wasn't turned over to KanCare, state funds may not be available and services would have to be cut. She was joined by state Reps. Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, who is chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and David Crum, R-Augusta, chair of the House Social Services Budget Committee.

Crum made the motion to send the entire bill back to committee, which caused Ward to leap up in protest. "Keep your big boy pants," he urged House members. "Today's the day." But the motion to send the bill back to committee was approved 69-54. Only Republicans voted for the motion.


pace 6 years, 2 months ago

They should be scared, Brownback's plan will kill some. It will also burden some community resources to the point of extinction. No savings unless you count reduced care and death as savings.

Jan Rolls 6 years, 2 months ago

Brownie is still the biggest jerk in kansas as he continues to think he is a king.

Pat Long 6 years, 2 months ago

KanCare? They could, but they don't. Disgusting.

kochmoney 6 years, 2 months ago

Let's have a list of all the legislators that voted for Brownie's plan. They've never seen passionate political campaigning until they've seen parents of the disabled in action. Hello, sleeping giant.

Christine Anderson 6 years, 2 months ago

I hate you. Brownback. My 13 yr. old son will be directly affected by this. Damn you!!

johnnyreb 6 years, 2 months ago

Did you ever think that the change may be helpful to your 13 year old?

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

In other states that have tried this, that hasn't been the case.

johnnyreb 6 years, 2 months ago

Give me some facts JAFS instead of your opinion.

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

Well, you could look it up.

Or I could do it for you - if I have the time and inclination, I will do that.

deec 6 years, 2 months ago "Medicaid spending is projected to increase 8 percent per year over the next decade. Medicaid costs are growing primarily because overall health care inflation is driving up the cost of the services Medicaid covers, especially hospital care and prescription drugs. Medicaid, however, has been more effective than private health insurance companies at controlling costs. Studies show that in recent years, costs per beneficiary have been rising less rapidly in Medicaid than in private insurance. In addition, the annual costs per beneficiary in Medicaid are less than in private insurance, after adjusting for differences in health status."

Greg Cooper 6 years, 2 months ago

It might be, but it won't. Just exactly how does helping the DD do anything for the Kochs? For business, in general (except the second rate insurance companies that will profit from this poorly thought out boondoggle)? For the "Christian" right? For anyone other than the DD and the State of Kansas in general?

You want to believe that this is a good change, go ahead. In actual fact, nothing that Kansas has done in during the Brownback reign has been for the general good of the State or its citizens, most expecially for the poor or unable to grasp the "American Dream".

Christine Anderson 6 years, 2 months ago

I've also got something to say to all the "Christians" who voted for Brownback simply because he is a Republican. I'm pro-life too. But that should include being pro-life for the most vunerable of our citizens who cannot speak for themselves. What if one of your own were developmentally disabled, Gov. Would you still be willing to risk their well-being and future? Oh wait, that's right, you're a multimillionare, so you would not be worried. But jerkwad, as Gov, , are not all Kansans supposed to be "your own"?

Bob Forer 6 years, 2 months ago

Thank you for exposing the hypocrisy of he the so-called 'pro-life' movement. If you don't believe in abortion that is your prerogative. There is a very simply method of living a life consistent with your beliefs. If you don't believe in abortion, don't have one. but you have no business telling other women what to do with their bodies.

evilpenguin 6 years, 2 months ago

His kids are adopted, so he probably made sure he didn't get one with developmental disabilities. Can't have those in his household!

Paul R Getto 6 years, 2 months ago

"But Brownback has rejected those pleas and promised that services will improve under KanCare and cost less" === More argument by assertion by the Browniacs. When this has been tried in other states, the results have not been as promised. Ideology, not evidence, runs the Governor's show.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

"But Brownback has rejected those pleas and promised that services will improve under KanCare and cost less."

He could at least be honest and change the name to KantKareLess.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 2 months ago

Hey, Bozo. Recall that story I mentioned about 20 doctor visits, 20 dentist appointments, 20 eye exams? It was within the KanCare system. Again, there has to be something between denying care to those who truly need and a bloated bureaucracy that wastes so much money, that it is the bureaucracy itself that imposes the denial of care.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

Putting in private middle men to suck up a good deal of the funding will do nothing to decrease the bureaucracy.

And if you think you were powerless to change the system then, (and I'd like to know what, if anything, you did to attempt to change that situation) once it becomes private, employees will have even less power.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 2 months ago

It's the government's regulations that creates the problem. That a kid goes to Dr. John Smith who has a small private practice in the nearby town isn't the cause of the problem.
A big part of the problem, in my opinion is that we sometimes hear these terrible stories of abuse and neglect. Legislators react with good and decent intentions. But the end result is too often the situation I described. And since it doesn't involve horrific abuse and neglect, it gets little attention. But the budget pie is only so big. And all those mandated doctor visits will necessitate cuts somewhere else. It's called "welcome to the real world". And if it makes you feel better to blame me for not having done enough, fine, go ahead. I guess I can blame you for the abuses of the military industrial complex. But that will get us nowhere. Or as John Lennon said in "Revolution", "You say you want a real solution. Well, We'd all love to see the plan"

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

Regulations can be changed. Did you make any attempt to get that one changed? I'm not saying that it's your fault if it didn't get changed, but if it was such an obviously stupid policy, if you don't attempt to change it, who will?

BTW, if I worked in the military industrial complex, and I saw instances of waste and abuse, I would indeed blow the whistle. Creating an atmosphere that allows government employees to blow the whistle, no matter where they work, is the key to getting better government. Pretending that we don't need government because it's not perfect won't accomplish anything.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 2 months ago

You do work in the military industrial complex. You pay taxes, don't you? You know some of that money goes for things you deeply oppose. Yet you pay anyway. Why not stand up for what you believe. Stop paying taxes. As Thereau refused to support a war he didn't believe in by not paying taxes, and suffered jail as a result, so should you. Of course, I'm not convinced myself of that argument. It's a somewhat radical approach because we all have lives to live. We all have families to provide for. So we do what we can. I've worked hard all my life, paid taxes that went for things that I agree with and things I didn't agree with. I've employed many over the years and assume they paid their taxes as well. Some went to KanCare to provide needed services, some went to support that bloated bureaucracy. I, too could have refused to pay, and like Thereau lost my liberty as a result. Over the decades, I've achieved a certain wisdom. A wisdom to know what I can change and what I can not.

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

Did you try to change those regulations at all when you worked in the system?

If not, why not?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 2 months ago

I questioned my superiors about the need for such regulations and was told simply that the regulations needed to be followed.
I did what everyone does. I took my kid to the ball game. I mowed the yard. I wrote an occasional letter to the government. I voted for people who believed as I believed. I attended political rallies when I was young, but as I got older, I did that only if the weather was good. I wrote another letter, buried my parents and took my grandkid to a ball game.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

All I can say is that your general state of cynicism provides little justification for your general state of hypocrisy.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 2 months ago

Translation: You're unable to make a well reasoned argument so you're resorting to your fallback position of name calling.

Why not give me a well reasoned argument why you are not following the path of Thereau. Give me a well reasoned argument why you don't simply refuse to pay your taxes because you know some of it is going to support things you deeply oppose. Why not give me a well reasoned argument why you don't simply surrender yourself to the authorities, spend your time in jail all the while knowing that you're standing up for your principles. Or you can engage in name calling. Whatever.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

Jeez, talk about straw men-- unless I get my butt thrown in jail my convictions aren't real? That the billionaires on the planet can buy more politicians than I can means that the military industrial complex is my fault.


jhawkinsf 6 years, 2 months ago

I asked why you support the military industrial complex through your taxes. You suggested I wasn't doing enough to end problems I see. I made the same suggestion to you. My argument is straw man, but your argument is not?

Patricia Davis 6 years, 2 months ago

I think the only good to come of Brownback being governor is when people put aside their ideology and vote in a governor who truly cares about this state. Unfortunately I agree with pace's view that people may die and that local communities will have their services stretched beyond their abilities to serve. The Crazies have taken over Kansas because we failed to show up, organize and beat them back. It took years for the fundamentals to get to this place. Slowly they took over the Republican party. I think the term "democrat" may be too bold for some people to take on. It ma y be time for a third, independent party to emerge. KanCare might be the best name to show that the real day to day people of Kansas have said enough to this brownshirt taking over our state.

Kathy Theis-Getto 6 years, 2 months ago

Now, where is kj overflowing with christian love for others? How does this fit into god's plan? Who will they come after next?

BigDog 6 years, 2 months ago

I know this will upset some people ..... but

The DD providers have used the families and persons with developmental disabilities like the schools do .... to whip them into hysteria. They bring people to th Capitol as props and if you ask many of the individuals they have no idea why they are there.

For everything that the providers and their association have brought up the state has addressed ..... but they won't be happy no matter what assurances anyone gives them. Along with the fact that their top association people have a deep dislike for Brownback and he could do everything they want and not be content because of their blind dislike.

It is about power and control ..... if this was as bad as the developmental disabilities providers are saying .... don't you think that the advocates for the elderly and independent living centers would also be yelling and protesting. The independent living centers have been masters at protests to the point they have regularly protested inside and outside the Capitol .... spending nights in tents on Capitol grounds, etc.

So where are the rest of the protests?

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

The state really hasn't addressed any of the concerns, other than to promise that things won't get worse.

But, in other states that have tried this, things did in fact get worse.

BB promised while campaigning to "protect" education and social service funding, then immediately cut both once elected. Why should we believe his promises about this issue?

Greg Cooper 6 years, 2 months ago

I take deep umbrage at your statement that the schools are doing ANYTHING to whip these people into hysteria. You haven't any idea of what the schools do for them, and with fewer and fewer resources with which to accomplish their goals.

If, sometime, you want the real truth, call the local district and ask them just exactly what they do for DD children. Don't talk dollars, bub, but talk real activities and goals and how those goals are attempted. But you won't, because your beloved Bronbackians have already told you what you need to know.

I am sick of those who rant and rave about how "little" the schools do when they have no idea at all about what they speak. Get some information and I'll go toe to toe with you. Otherwise, lay off.

kochmoney 6 years, 2 months ago

Yes. The disabled should just lie back and take it. They should definitely not be informed, and the experts in their care should not have an opinion about what systems work. If it turns out they die or are horribly neglected under the new system, that's when they should speak up and say something. If they're alive, anyway. It's not like they have historical precedent from what other states have done, is it? It's not like Brownback has already established a record of doing stupid things that end up being either walked back or costing the state tons of money in his short time in office, either. What WERE they thinking?

Also being elderly is exactly the same as having a DD, so the advocates of both groups should clearly have the same position on things. Thanks for clarifying.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 2 months ago

Oxy: "The Crazies have taken over Kansas because we failed to show up, organize and beat them back." === Most excellent point. The RRR has been working towards this for 40+ years and the rest of us let it happen. Voter suppression moves are in place to help maintain this momentum, but an active, informed Sheeple's movement could turn it back. It will be hard because the RRR provides a powerful argument that appeals to those who are willing to vote against their interests or not to vote at all. See Frank's book for a more detailed discussion. "What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America" (2004)

usnsnp 6 years, 2 months ago

Brownback is not looking to be re-elected, he is hoping that a Republican gets elected President and he will get put in charge of some Federal Department.

krazykansas1 6 years, 2 months ago

...or (gulp) VEEP. His administration's policies are overwhelmingly unpopular on the ground, but they fit right in with current conservative platform, i.e. less/no taxes (especially pertaining to the rich) and an across the board reduction in gov't services, consequences be damned. It won't matter that these policies would be a complete and utter disaster. His campaign will insist that the changes were the right thing to do and any failure is due to political opposition during their implementation.

pace 6 years, 2 months ago

There it is, the real voice of the republican of today. they don't care about the disabled, they want someone else to do it. They are blind, until their precious financial kings destroy their life and then they will suddenly want the government to do something. When their financial gods steal their home, dictate rather they can even go to a doctor, dictate what the doctor can tell them, even dictates to the doctor he/she must lie about certain things. The republicans of Kansas have bought an ideology based on fear, hate, and selfishness. Short term gains for the rich, ruinous long term losses for working families.

kochmoney 6 years, 2 months ago

I already do. I also volunteer. What do you do, other than advocate for legislative setbacks?

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 2 months ago

So how many groups has BB managed to ps off now? 1. Women 2. GLBT 3. Developmentally disabled 4. Lower middle class (those educated and smart enough to know they've been st on). 5. The elderly and retired 6. Any religion that's not evangelical Christian (and even a few of those; the ones that are actually, you know, Christians). So tell me, have I missed anybody? And what group do you think will be next?

See, the biggest problem with playing to your "base" is that, if you really don't have a clear majority (and BB only received one third of the eligible vote when he was elected), keep ticking people off and you'll be a one termer at best (unless your Scott Walker and then you may not even get that).

William Weissbeck 6 years, 2 months ago

The GOP always claims better service for less cost. Hasn't happened. Never will. Just look to Indiana and the economic wonder boy Mitch Daniels. The end result of such a change is to put all of the burden on the parents to hunt for services and deal with insurance claims reps. Those parents who give up are just that much less of a cost to the system and profit for the insurance companies. If the state will not take care of its least - then can we really trust that our elected reps are doing the best for the rest of us?

BigDog 6 years, 2 months ago

The system of determining and re-determining eligibility for services of persons with developmental disabilities won't change with KanCare .... the Community Developmental Disability Organizations (CDDOs) will continue to determine eligibility for long-term care services .... as they currently do. That doesn't change with KanCare because eligibility determination is written in statute as having to be completed by CDDOs only.

jafs 6 years, 2 months ago

That may be true.

But, insurance companies will set funding now, and there'll be 3 of them to deal with, with all of the accompanying bureaucracies.

Also, that only holds true for 3 years, after which there may be more changes.

There's probably a very good reason that almost no other states have privatized these services in these ways.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 2 months ago

The GOP is nothing but a bunch of heartless bastards.

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