Archive for Friday, April 19, 2013

Brownback administration cites more savings from KanCare, wants to use funds for those with disabilities

April 19, 2013


— Gov. Sam Brownback's administration on Friday announced that its recent privatization of Medicaid is saving more than expected, and it wants to use those savings to provide services to people with disabilities and help pay for a new education building at the Kansas University Medical Center.

"We want to work with the Legislature on how to proceed with that," Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said.

Legislators return May 8 for the wrap-up session to work on the state budget and tax issues.

On Friday, budget experts met to determine how much revenue would be available for legislators to spend. There was little change in revenue estimates, but a big change in "caseload estimates," which projects how much is needed to cover various social service expenditures.

The combined decrease for all human services caseloads totals $68 million in state tax dollars over three years, according to state officials.

Colyer attributed much of the decrease to savings from the state changing the Medicaid system into a managed care program called KanCare, which is administered by three private insurance companies.

The savings, however, also come from expected reductions in welfare spending because of the prediction that the Kansas economy will improve, according to a memo from the Kansas Budget Division and Kansas Legislative Research Department.

Colyer said the administration wants to use the "KanCare dividend" to reduce the number of Kansans with physical and developmental disabilities who are on waiting lists for services provided in their homes and communities. Currently, approximately 6,000 people are on various waiting lists, and sometimes the wait can take years.

And, Colyer said the administration wants to use $10 million of the savings to jumpstart construction of a new medical education building at the KU Medical Center to train more doctors and nurses.

Brownback had proposed $10 million for the building in his budget, but Republicans in the House and Senate had proposed putting those funds into other budget areas.

When the administration started KanCare this year, it estimated savings of $1 billion over 5 years. But the new announcement consists of savings on top of that amount, Colyer said.


chootspa 5 years, 2 months ago

"The savings, however, also come from expected reductions in welfare spending because of the prediction that the Kansas economy will improve, according to a memo from the Kansas Budget Division and Kansas Legislative Research Department."

In other words, the savings are imaginary, and the benefits to people with disabilities are bread and circuses from an administration that is underwater on approval ratings. That does bring up an interesting point, though. If the program really were working much better than expected, why not take advantage of the three years of full federal funding and expand it as allowed under Obamacare?

63BC 5 years, 2 months ago

Brownback Administration serves Medicaid recipients better.

Saves money.

Dedicates savings to help disabled.

Cue haters!

chootspa 5 years, 2 months ago

If you define 'serves Medicate recipients better' as delaying payments to providers, adding layers of red tape, communicating poorly, and causing delays in including providers and approving medications, then sure, it's totally served the recipients better.

Saves money - sure, if you delay payments and make it harder to get services, it's going to save money, because fewer people will be helped. I'd love to see some evidence that it actually saves money while providing better services. Really. I'd love to see evidence that it does this. It would be great news for everyone. Maybe next year?

jafs 5 years, 2 months ago

That article says they both want to make sure that KanCare works as it's supposed to work, and that they support bills regarding oversight of KanCare by the state.

I can't imagine anybody who cares about the folks served by this program who would disagree with that.

However, as far as I know, there have been no bills passed in the legislature regarding oversight of KanCare by the state, and no evidence that the state is exercising good oversight yet. Meanwhile, there are ongoing problems with the program.

chootspa 5 years, 2 months ago

You'll notice my link was published a month later than yours.

Mike1949 5 years, 2 months ago

Also serves less people as more and more people with disability fall through the holes and are no longer covered. Any program will save money, just make it nearly impossible to qualify for so less people will use it. Yes, do that for any program, it will save money. You might have the disabled out panhandling on the street, but at least the state isn't spending any money on them!

Lenette Hamm 5 years, 2 months ago

As the over-used saying goes "Show me the money"!!

overthemoon 5 years, 2 months ago

Somebody review their numbers!!! This can't be right. He's taking our medicaid dollars an giving it to KU Med??? I don't think that's exactly ethical. That's our money, folks. It should be doing what its supposed to be used for and not filling in gaps in Sam's Unicorn and Faery budget plan.

Michele Dillon 5 years, 2 months ago

Of course you're saving money. When you don't provide services or pay the providers y0u'll save all kinds of money.

jafs 5 years, 2 months ago

Well, it's been all of about 3 1/2 months with the new program, and there are still numerous problems, including not paying providers, difficulty accessing one's insurance company for those on Medicaid, etc.

Seems to me it would be prudent to wait a bit longer before deciding it's a success, and that we're saving money while also providing quality services.

Anybody can save money by providing lower quality services, and not paying providers.

And, of course, predictions that the economy will improve aren't worth the paper they're written on.

But, I'm a bit surprised that he proposes using any savings to help more people - not sure what his real agenda is there.

chootspa 5 years, 2 months ago

His real agenda, when those savings don't materialize and he loses that school funding lawsuit, is to pit funding schools against funding services for the disabled.

pace 5 years, 2 months ago

if you believe his words you are buying into fraud.

chootspa 5 years, 2 months ago

Yes - I'm sure that's part of it, too.

Michael LoBurgio 5 years, 2 months ago

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said

REBUKE the Brownback agenda and defeat him in 2014.

Michael LoBurgio 5 years, 2 months ago

Privatizing public services always - ALWAYS - costs more for worse service. And in Kentucky it's destroying jobs by killing small businesses.

Kentucky legislators are threatening to subpoena three managed care companies after the state's 550 small pharmacies complained that they're being pushed out of business by the companies' low Medicaid reimbursements.

The situation is bad enough that the Kentucky Medical Association says some doctors have discussed taking out short-term loans to offset delays in claims reimbursement from the companies.

Independent pharmacists have been among the most vocal critics because of the complicated pricing formula the managed care industry uses to pay for prescription drugs.

"This has hurt a lot of Main Street pharmacies," said Rosemary Smith, who operates eight Eastern Kentucky pharmacies with her husband, Luther. "We are the fabric of the economy in these small communities, and they are killing us."

The managed care system was implemented Nov. 1 by Gov. Steve Beshear's administration as a cost-saving measure.

Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 2 months ago

When did Brownback become a tax and spend liberal?

There's no money to spend here, all this revised estimate does is move the governor's budget closer to where the legislature's budget is.

The only way to spend this "dividend" is with a sales tax increase.

Nick Schmiedeler 5 years, 2 months ago

Another awesome idea from Sam to continue his string of awesome ideas for Kansas and America.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 2 months ago

I am on Medicaid and have had no problems whatsoever seeing my doctors or getting my prescriptions filled.

I even got a debit card with twenty on it that I can use for medical related expenses. I got it because I did something good about my health. Every time I do so I get more money placed on my card. This money can only be used for medical expenses such as co-pays and such.

You can get a free phone with so many minutes on it though I have not done that yet.

My doctors do know what is covered and what is not so they do not prescribe meds that I cannot get. That might be the problem some people are having.

kippcolorado 5 years, 2 months ago

Well, my Kansas friends, you now have the state government you voted for. Your state is the laughingstock of the country, your Bible-thumping statewide ignorance is legendary. You are now governed by the inmates from the State Hospital. Good Luck.

chootspa 5 years, 2 months ago

I don't have the government I voted for, but I still have to live with it. At least I have a choice. The people on KanCare largely don't.

chootspa 5 years, 2 months ago

To be fair, the waiting list existed before KanCare. The waiting list is because Kansas, like many other states, has underfunded these services for years and years. Long, silent lists. Very easy to ignore. Very hard to keep funded. They've gotten worse in recent years with budget cuts.

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