Archive for Monday, January 28, 2013

Budget is inadequate, disability advocates say

January 28, 2013


— Advocates for people with developmental disabilities on Monday called for increased funding for services, and rejection of Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal to keep funding at the same level for the next two years.

About 5,000 people with developmental disabilities are on a waiting list for services that can be received at home or in the community.

The governor has proposed funding the program at $327.6 million for each of the next two fiscal years.

“When you are talking about a program that has been chronically under-funded for years, they are making no effort to address that crisis situation,” said Tim Wood, manager of the End the Wait campaign.

The House Social Services budget subcommittee will start hearings on the proposed budget within the next week or so.

Wood is urging parents, people with disabilities and other interested people to testify before the committee.

He said without an increase, the waiting list will get larger, and the wait for services, now approximately eight years, will just get longer.

But Brownback administration officials say that the proposed funding levels are adequate and will serve more people because savings will occur under the state’s overhaul of the Medicaid program, now called KanCare.

Another factor in budget discussions is that state income tax cuts signed into law by Brownback last year have legislators facing a projected $267 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year starting July 1.

In addition to the budget, Kansans with disabilities face other issues before the Legislature.

Last year, Brownback agreed to postpone until Jan. 1, 2014, the inclusion of long-term care for Kansans with developmental disabilities in KanCare, which is operated by private managed care companies. Many advocates say long-term care does not fit in KanCare and would like to have those services permanently excluded from KanCare.

In addition, federal officials met with Brownback last year about resolving complaints filed with the U.S. Justice Department by disabled Kansans about the growing waiting lists for home- and community-based services. Brownback has said Kansas is in compliance with federal law.


deec 5 years, 4 months ago

I imagine when the Justice Department finds Kansas in violation of federal laws, they'll have to care.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

Right. KanCare is magically going to both save money and get people off the waiting list by serving more of them. Pull the other one.

Michael LoBurgio 5 years, 3 months ago

Expanding Medicaid would save state money

ov. Sam Brownback is in the process of determining whether to expand Medicaid in Kansas to cover citizens with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line as set forth in the Affordable Care Act. I strongly urge the governor to take this step, as it will provide coverage for hardworking Kansas who are struggling to make ends meet.

Medicaid expansion under the ACA will both expand access to health care for people who desperately need it, and save the state money. This issue is particularly important to Kansans ages 50 and older, who are not yet eligible for Medicare. During this historic economic recession, many of these individuals have lost their jobs and their employer-sponsored insurance coverage.

Moreover, while people with incomes from 100 to 400 percent of the federal poverty rate will be eligible for the federal tax subsidy to partially offset the cost of their insurance beginning in 2014, without exercising the Medicaid expansion option, Kansas will effectively create a coverage gap in the state for those with incomes less than 100 percent of poverty.

Expanding Medicaid will not only help provide coverage for hardworking Kansans who have fallen on hard times. It also will give people without insurance access to preventive care that can save lives, reduce the need for expensive emergency room care, and ease emergency room overcrowding that threatens all of us.

According to research from AARP’s Public Policy Institute, expanding Medicaid would provide health coverage for an estimated 20,219 uninsured Kansas residents ages 50 to 64, based on the number of Kansas residents ages 50 to 64 who were living at or below 138 percent of poverty in 2010. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to deterioration in function and health status if they do not have health coverage.

There has been some concern that by increasing the number of individuals who receive Medicaid, the cost to the state will increase dramatically. Actually, expansion can benefit Kansas beginning in 2014, because the federal government will provide 100 percent matching rate. If we do not expand Medicaid, however, Kansas will have to pay the matching rate of 56.5 percent for people newly eligible to receive services.

It is hard to predict how many newly eligible people will apply for services. According to a recent Urban Institute report, about 169,000 newly eligible uninsured Kansans of all ages would meet the expansion eligibility requirements in 2014.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 3 months ago

Advocates for (Fill In The Blank) say the budget is inadequate to meet the needs of the (Fill In The Blank).

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