Jim McLean

Contributing Reporter

Jim McLean, Executive Editor of KHI News Service, oversees the KHI News Service. From 2005 until 2013, McLean coordinated all communications activities at KHI as Vice President for Public Affairs. The position he now occupies was created as part of a strategic initiative to solidify the editorial and operational independence of the KHI News Service. Prior to coming to KHI, McLean had a distinguished career as a journalist, serving as the news director and Statehouse bureau chief for Kansas Public Radio and a managing editor for the Topeka Capital-Journal. During his more than 20 years in Kansas journalism, McLean won numerous awards for journalistic excellence from the Kansas Press Association, regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Kansas Association of Broadcasters. In 1997, McLean and two Capital-Journal colleagues received the Burton W. Marvin News Enterprise Award from the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism for a series of stories on the state’s business climate. McLean holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Washburn University.

 

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

This is the second in a two-part series on KanCare. Listen to part one here.

Kansas was out in front of just about every other state in 2013 when it fully privatized its Medicaid program and renamed it KanCare.

The switch to managed care was one of the first big policy changes made by Gov. Sam Brownback, who promised it would both improve health care and lower costs.

KanCare was immediately controversial.

Kansas News Service file photo

Update Thursday, 11:23 a.m.: In final action, House Bill 2064 passed the House 81-44. It now goes on to the Senate.

Supporters of expanding Medicaid eligibility to more low-income Kansans succeeded Wednesday in a last-gasp effort to advance a bill, overpowering opponents who thought they had blocked it earlier in the week.

Kansas News Service

Kansas lawmakers are getting ready to do something they have never done before – vote on a KanCare expansion bill.

For the past three years, conservative Republicans who controlled the Legislature refused to allow a vote on the issue.

Things are different this session due to the ouster of several conservative incumbents by moderate Republican and Democratic challengers.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Not only is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in the thick of the latest national debate over immigration policy, he remains under consideration for a high-level job in the Trump administration.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The message delivered to a legislative committee Thursday by opponents of expanding Medicaid eligibility in Kansas boiled down to this: Expansion has been a disaster in the states that have enacted it, so don’t do it.

Gregg Pfister, legislative relations director for the Florida-based Foundation for Government Accountability, ticked through a list of expansion states where costs and enrollment significantly exceeded projections.

Frank Morris / KCUR

Legislation aimed at helping the Kansas aviation industry has been grounded in Topeka.

The bill would have provided generous tax credits to engineering graduates who go to work in the Kansas aviation industry, as well as the companies that hire them.

Backed by the Wichita Chamber of Commerce as a way to reverse almost a decade of aviation job losses, it appeared to have some momentum.

Susie Fagan / Kansas News Service

A yearlong campaign aimed at building support for Medicaid expansion culminated Wednesday in a show-of-force lobbying effort aimed at convincing Kansas lawmakers that they still have time to act.

A crowd of approximately 200 filled the north wing of the Statehouse for a rally before the House Health and Human Services Committee convened a hearing on a bill that would expand eligibility for KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program, to more low-income Kansans.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

A Kansas House Committee is expected to vote Monday on a bill aimed at helping to revitalize the Kansas aviation industry.

House Bill 2036 would provide tax credits to graduates of accredited engineering programs who go to work in the Kansas aviation industry. Companies that hire them also would qualify for credits.

Jason Watkins, a lobbyist for the Wichita Chamber of Commerce, says the incentives could help reverse a steady decline in aviation jobs that has lasted more than a decade. He says employment has dropped by 17 percent since 2005.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

KanCare expansion advocates say confusion in Washington, D.C., is helping their cause as they gear up for Statehouse hearings this week on an expansion bill.

In a newly surfaced letter, federal officials are again criticizing KanCare, Kansas’ privatized Medicaid program. This time for falling short when it comes to providing services for Kansans with disabilities.

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says many KanCare recipients with developmental disabilities lack written plans for the services they’re getting to help them live independently. The agency also says too few of those needing care for traumatic brain injuries are receiving the required physical exams.

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