Archive for Thursday, November 21, 2013

Democrats urge expansion of Medicaid in Kansas

November 21, 2013


— Democrats on Thursday urged Republican leaders in Kansas to change course and expand Medicaid to cover 100,000 Kansans.

"There is no justification for continuing to block Medicaid expansion," said Josh Earnest, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary.

He was joined in a telephone news conference with state Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee.

"We have constituents that need this insurance," Ballard said.

Under the Affordable Care Act, states can expand the income eligibility limits for Medicaid, the government-funded health coverage for low-income people. Under the reform law, the federal government would pay for the expansion for three years, and no less than 90 percent after that.

Twenty-six states have expanded, but most states headed by Republican governors, such as Kansas, haven't.

Brownback and Republican legislative leaders oppose the ACA. During debate on the issue during the 2013 legislative session, Republicans said they feared the federal government wouldn't fulfill its funding commitment because of ongoing budget problems.

But Earnest said the federal commitment is solid. "This is a really good deal for the state of Kansas," he said. He said he hoped governors would "put the interests of their states ahead of politics," and that President Obama's administration is willing to negotiate with individual states about different approaches to expanding health coverage.

Ballard and Earnest said they understand there is frustration with the recent glitch-plagued rollout of the ACA website, but they said the expansion of Medicaid has gone smoothly.

Facing a large Republican majority in the Legislature, Ballard said expanding Medicaid in Kansas will be difficult. But Ballard added, "We can't lose sight of the fact that 100,000 people who are uninsured today could gain access and coverage by 2016." The question becomes, "Why are we not giving these Kansans the insurance that they need," she said.


Brock Masters 4 years, 6 months ago

The WH wouldn't lie would they?

If you like your health insurance plan you can keep it. Period.

Nope they wouldn't lie.

Brock Masters 4 years, 6 months ago

You need to read the story better. It is about the WH promise to pay for the Medicaid expansion and the doubt that they will keep that promise. If you paid attention you'd realize my post was on topic.

Michael LoBurgio 4 years, 6 months ago

Brownback (Kansas) Turns Medicaid Over to Private Companies.. and these are the results

Kansas' most vulnerable now have even less health care, thanks to Gov. Brownback

Past the doorway to Finn Bullers' Prairie Village home are framed photos from his wedding day in 1994. There's Bullers, wearing his suit, standing upright and proud, smiling with a head full of strawberry-blond hair.

On this late-October day, Bullers is in his kitchen. The 49-year-old man's smile remains, but almost everything else has changed since he said, "I do." His body has been wracked by Charcot-Marie-Tooth, a form of muscular dystrophy. (He also suffers from type 1 diabetes.) His hair is gone, replaced by a flat cap. He's in a wheelchair, no longer able to stand. He can move his arms well enough to operate a phone and his iPad, but his hands have morphed through muscle loss to resemble claws, and he cannot make precise movements.

Bullers' voice, once clear, now sounds like gasps for air against the steady in-and-out of a ventilator helping him breathe.

George Lippencott 4 years, 6 months ago

I think it is great that someone wants to expand Medicare in Kansas to un-served populations. That written, exactly who is to pay for this as the federal programs ends in three years and we have to pick up or normal tab (ABOUT 50%).

How about everybody gets to pay and additional 1% in state taxes with essentially no deductions/adjustments - everybody.

Julius Nolan 4 years, 6 months ago

This is what the above story says. "Under the reform law, the federal government would pay for the expansion for three years, and no less than 90 percent after that."

George Lippencott 4 years, 6 months ago

And who pays the increase nationally? We are running a trillion dollar deficit. To pay for it we would have to double taxes on the half of the population that pays federal income tax.

We will also have to pay the 10% in three years and in my world it will be 50% because the program will become normalized with the rest of Medicaid when the feds grapple with the cost of Obama Care - maybe $250 billion per year.

Brock Masters 4 years, 6 months ago

Right, but as I pointed out in my original post, the government lies and there is no guarantee they will honor that amount.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 6 months ago

Medicaid not Medicare, they are two different programs.

George Lippencott 4 years, 6 months ago

Such meaningful dialogue. Tell me why the super rich pay about 40% on part of their income and less on dividends/capital gains and tax free bonds?

Maybe if we taxed them we might have more money for the "poor". Of course those super rich meet with Obama in closed sessions in California to make sure they never get taxed fairly.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

The super rich you talk about pay the same rates on capital gains and dividends that everyone else pays. The top 10% of wage earners took in approx 45% of total wages in US and paid just over 70% of all federal income taxes collected. If you factor in state and local taxes the top 10% still paid approx half of all taxes collected. The top 10% of wage earners pay more taxes as a percent of income than any other group. So the rich are paying their share and then some. So your claim that they don't get taxed "fairly" is accurate, they are paying more than their "fair" share.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

Bring those federal tax $$$$$ home to the taxpayers. These ALEC republicans are misleading Kansas taxpayers 24/7.

Turning Medicaid over to the medical insurance industry is a perfect example of pork barrel spending and complete disregard for fiscal responsibility.

The Medical Insurance Industry aka home to junk medical insurance coverage.

George Lippencott 4 years, 6 months ago

Richard you have been arguing this for years.

First of all federal $$$ are our dollars reduced by a bureaucracy in Washington and auctioned off to the best political bidder.

Insurance companies do not make abnormal profits. They do pay dividends to state and local government retirement funds as well as to people trying to prepare for their retirement as a recognition of the money loaned to the insurance company by those entities.

They haven not historically covered the very expensive limited beneficiary, not because that costs them money but because it drives up costs to all.

In the real world the premiums by policy holders must pay for all the care dispensed. If you want more covered then the cost go up. That is exactly what is happening in Obama Care where a mandated basket of coverage is driving up the costs of everybody's premiums.

There is no free lunch!!!

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 6 months ago

We are all of us brothers and sisters of the same Creator and we must react to each other with open hearts, not closed fists. When Peter asked Jesus how many times he was supposed to forgive someone, he said, seven times seventy, as to him that was a preposterous number. No, answered the Teacher. As many times as necessary.

Brock Masters 4 years, 6 months ago

The Bible speaks to individuals and not the government. Give all you want to others, but don't dictate through legislation how others must live their lives.

Michael Shaw 4 years, 6 months ago

There is no valid argument for refusing to accept these funds. That is the heart of the matter.

Brock Masters 4 years, 6 months ago

Sure there is. The Us cannot afford to expand the program and the state will have to pay a portion of it eventually.

It isn't like it is free money - it is money that we don't have to spend.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

So how does expanding Medicaid which is taxpayer money do anything except increase taxpayer expense?

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

What does it matter? So I pay more for Medicaid or I pay more for insurance so ACA can cover the people. Either way I am forced to provide for coverage for someone else because they are unable to take care of themselves. It doesn't really matter either way those of us that are forced to pay are getting screwed either by Medicaid or by ACA.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

All he is trying to do is cost shift. If he can expand Medicaid it makes less low income people on ACA. So less subsidies and the ACA financials look better. This allows him to try to avoid a "new" tax for ACA . By expanding Medicaid the costs will go up and congress can raise more money for Medicaid without a new tax since it is already in the system. All he is wanting to do is make ACA look as pretty as possible by shifting the low income people around. Also remember there are less providers that accept Medicaid so he is trying to limit low income to less choices. How nice of him.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

If less than 68% of physicians take it, your insurance pays like crap. The primary reason a physician doesn't take a particular insurance plan is it doesn't pay them a competitive rate. It may cover your needs but if doctors aren't participating any better than you state I guarantee it is because it pays them poorly.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

Fine so more high risk people on Medicaid which results in increased costs and increased taxes.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

If you think increasing the size of Medicaid will lower taxes just keep fooling yourself. There is also a reason a lot of those countries also have higher income tax rates as well.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

There are more factors in those countries than single payor that results in lower cost. Companies can be limited on what they can charge, doctors may be govt employees, etc. While some of those issues I could agree with, the fact is it would be a major overhaul of how the US system works (or doesn't work). There are too many special interests groups to think those types of changes would reasonably be enacted here. The changes might not be a bad thing, just unlikely. You would have to essentially socialize medicine and assoc businesses (pharmacy, durable medical equip etc). Socialized anything would have a hard time being passed in the US. While socialized medicine might improve some aspects of care it would create a whole new set of problems that Americans have never had to deal with.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

That 68.2% number must be given more thought. Hospital employed and hospital based MDs (radiologists, pathologists, anesthesiologists, hospitalists) will be forced to take Medicaid often by the contract they have with the hospital. Surgeons may take Medicaid depending on how much trauma and unassigned patients they have to see. Rural primary care may due to number of patients in community on Medicaid and lack of physicians in the area. In most fair sized cities many primary care and even more specialists do not take Medicaid due to horrible pay. I seriously doubt 68% of primary care and specialists (outside of hospital employed or based) take Medicaid in most cities.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

You are incorrect. Laws passed years ago prevent "massive" delay in reimbursement. Any company that does not pay on time must pay the reimbursement plus interest. Payments are rarely delayed since that law was enacted.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

Your reference is short on details. Bills must be submitted correctly before they can be considered for payment. Once a correct bill is submitted insurance companies have a strict timeframe in which to reimburse. If they take too long then they are required to pay interest on top of the reimbursement whether it is to hospitals or physicians. Requests for authorization for treatment also must be done in a correct manner. Additional information such as test results or exam findings may be necessary prior to receiving auth. The physician or hospital can always request to speak to a physician reviewer if they feel there is a problem. Your reference piece does not give any substantiated specifics so it is of no value.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

It is a standard form used by Medicare and insurance carriers alike. So no it is not a method of delaying payment.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

I doubt the physicians are getting a 20% markup. All major insurances I was ever aware of paid physicians based on RBRVS. Medicare fee schedule is set then insurances pay based on Medicare. The best of insurance would pay 110% ( more likely 105%) of Medicare rates. In the old days insurance paid 80% of billed or usual and customary which ever was lower. The insurance would not tell how usual and customary was determined but it was almost always no where near what physicians charged. Nowadays it is highly unlikely any insurance is going to pay 20% more than Medicare rate. A procedure has no intrinsic $ value, that is what RBRVS determines.

John Graham 4 years, 6 months ago

Very few doctors refuse to participate with all insurances. There simply is not a large enough population willing to pay out of pocket.

4 years, 6 months ago

Wait, the Democrats want to EXPAND a government program? Never would have figured that.

Grégoire Guillaume 4 years, 6 months ago

Who do you think pays for the 100,000 un-insured Kansans when they go the the ER? How can anyone try to defend the present system that leaves so many out in the cold? I've got mine and if you don't have yours it's probably because your a lazy looser. This country has definitely lost it's moral compass. The greed and indifference to our fellow citizens is a sure sign that we're a sad caricature of those who founded this country. All that being said, of course you expand Medicaid because it's the right thing to do.

John Graham 4 years, 5 months ago

Maybe Obama will mandate all doctors have to participate with Medicaid whether they want to or not. He has mandated everyone buy insurance whether they like it or not. What's one more mandate?

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