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Attempt to delay startup of KanCare fails

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In a split vote along party lines, a legislative committee on Thursday rejected pleas from advocates for the elderly and those with disabilities for a delay in implementation of Gov. Sam Brownback's plan to privatize the Medicaid program, which serves nearly 400,000 Kansans.

State Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, sought to delay the proposed Jan.1 startup of KanCare by six months to July 1. "I'm still not convinced that they are ready," Ballard said.

But Republicans on the committee said the state has devoted a lot of time and effort to starting KanCare on Jan. 1 and pushing that back would cause confusion.

"To move that date now would be very inappropriate," said state Rep. David Crum, R-Augusta, who is chairman of the House-Senate Committee on Home and Community Based Services.

Ballard's motion to delay implementation failed 2-3. Joining Ballard was state Rep. Jerry Henry, D-Cummings. Voting against Ballard's motion were Crum, state Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, and state Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia.

Under KanCare, the state's current Medicaid system will be switched over to three managed care plans run by private insurance companies. Medicaid is a nearly $3 billion per year state and federally funded program that provides health care to poor and disabled Kansans. The changes must be approved by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services before it can be implemented, and the Brownback administration has been shooting for Jan. 1 approval.

Earlier Thursday, advocates for those with disabilities, children and the elderly said that the switchover in 54 days was too fast.

"We believe such an aggressive timeline, with little oversight, for an untested system will place many of the state's frailest and most vulnerable residents into a long-term managed care program that we believe the state is not ready to operate," said David Wilson, the immediate past president and current lead volunteer for AARP Kansas.

Tom Laing, executive director of InterHab, which advocates for those with disabilities, said "We are deeply concerned over the evident lack of preparations to oversee a program of such magnitude."

But Kari Bruffett, director of the Health Care Finance Division of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said the state was on track.

Bruffett said state officials had "positive and productive meetings with CMS officials" on Oct. 18.

And she said the managed care organizations were ready to deliver Medicaid services.

The Brownback administration has said KanCare will improve health outcomes while saving the state money.

Comments

Katara 2 years, 1 month ago

Obviously Brownback did not learn from the DMV fiasco. How much more did that cost the state in extra manpower and time?

Shane Garrett 2 years, 1 month ago

obviously Brownie thought Romney would win the election and Obama care would be dead. Thank goodness our level headed insurance person for the state is on the job.

scarlett 2 years, 1 month ago

Brownie never thought he'd have to do any of it. What it shows is how little regard he has for people and how much kansas needs to get rid of him. The man is willing to let his millionaire friends get tax breaks while the weakest who really need some help are thrown to the wolves.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 1 month ago

Privatizing the Medicaid program is a money laundering system to funnel more tax dollars into the medical insurance industry, For all we know Kochs and Brownback are shareholders.

--- Koch Insurance Brokers --- http://kochinsbrokers.com/

---- By Igor Volsky on Aug 31, 2010 at 11:44 am

--- Today, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the “first round of applicants accepted into the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program,” a $5 billion program established by the new health care law to help employers and states “maintain coverage for early retirees age 55 and older who are not yet eligible for Medicare.”

--- According to the agency, “nearly 2,000 employers, representing large and small businesses, State and local governments, educational institutions, non-profits, and unions” applied and have been accepted into the program and “will begin to receive reimbursements for employee claims this fall.”

--- Ironically, one of those employers is the oil, chemicals, and manufacturing conglomerate Koch Industries, which as Lee Fang has reported, has also spent millions of dollars opposing reform.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 1 month ago

--- What is the most reliable source of fraud? Private industry.

--- Thursday, June 25, 2009

--- Health insurers have forced consumers to pay billions of dollars in medical bills that the insurers themselves should have paid, according to a report released yesterday by the staff of the Senate Commerce Committee. --- Insurers make paperwork confusing because “they realize that people will just simply give up and not pursue it” if they think they have been shortchanged, Potter said.

--- More on this story. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401636.html

===============================================

--- Moreover, tax dollars also pay for critical elements of the health care system apart from direct care—Medicare funds much of the expensive equipment hospitals use, for instance, along with all medical residencies.

--- All told, then, tax dollars already pay for at least $1.2 trillion in annual U.S. health care expenses. Since federal, state, and local governments collected approximately $3.5 trillion in taxes of all kinds—income, sales, property, corporate—in 2006, that means that more than one third of the aggregate tax revenues collected in the United States that year went to pay for health care.

Recognizing these hidden costs that U.S. households pay for health care today makes it far easier to see how a universal single-payer system—with all of its obvious advantages—can cost most Americans less than the one we have today.

--- Medicare must exist in the fragmented world that is American health care—but no matter how creative the opponents of single-payer get, there is no way they can show convincingly how the administrative costs of a single-payer system could come close to the current level.

--- More on this matter. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

bearded_gnome 2 years, 1 month ago

because AARP is so bypartisan! lol! we can really trust them!

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