KanCare

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

Kansas is one of 20 states that have refused to expand Medicaid. At a forum in Overland Park Tuesday on KanCare, Kansas’ privatized version of Medicaid, a leader of Indiana’s push to expand the program explained how his very conservative state managed to do it.

A legislative oversight committee is recommending several changes in Kansas’ privatized Medicaid program to save money. One of the recommendations is sparking controversy because it would withhold potentially life-saving treatments from some patients.

Jasleen Kaur, flickr Creative Commons

A report released today by a group of health foundations backing Medicaid expansion says expansion would more than pay for itself.

The report by a national health consulting firm says that expanding Kansas’ Medicaid program--known as KanCare--would reduce what the state is now spending on the uninsured.

Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

The Wichita Chamber has added Medicaid expansion to its list of legislative priorities. But as Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, there are conditions attached to that support.

The board of the Wichita Chamber of Commerce has voted to support expanding Kansas’ privatized Medicaid program--known as KanCare--so that it covers more poor adults.

But that support is conditioned on two things:

Susie Fagan / KHI News

For the past three years supporters of expanding Medicaid to cover more poor Kansans have gotten nowhere in the Legislature, but they’re hoping to change that in the upcoming session by getting Kansas lawmakers to look at expansion plans crafted in other so-called red states.

Indiana’s plan was the focus at a forum held here in Wichita on Tuesday that attracted an overflow crowd, including Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean.

Bigstock Images

Some advocates for seniors and Kansans with disabilities are calling for changes in the state’s privatized Medicaid program. As Jim McLean of the Kansas Health Institute reports, they want a more independent process for resolving disputes over services.

More from Dave Ranney at the Heartland Health Monitor.

A recent ruling by a federal appeals court could affect whether some elderly and disabled Kansans continue to receive the services they need to remain in their homes and stay out of nursing facilities.

This is another case that pitted the Obama administration against states led by conservative Republicans.

Jim McLean

Advocates for Kansans with disabilities say the state's privatized Medicaid system is too often failing the people it's supposed to serve. They aired their complaints yesterday during a hearing in Topeka, hosted by the National Council on Disability.

They say the for-profit companies running the KanCare program seem more interested in saving money than providing needed services.

Dave Ranney, Heartland Health Monitor

When the 2015 legislative session started in January, public health advocates had reason to be optimistic they could reach some of their most ambitious goals.

The Kansas Hospital Association was ramping up efforts to expand Medicaid coverage to about 100,000 uninsured Kansans with the political implications of the 2014 election over.

Newly re-elected Gov. Sam Brownback had proposed to almost triple the state cigarette tax — a prospect that won quick support from groups that fight cancer and heart disease.

The job of inspector general for the state's managed care Medicaid program has been open for nearly a year.

The post has been empty since Phil Hermanson resigned in June 2014, just months after he was hired to lead KanCare, an umbrella program for three private managed health care companies.

The lack of a leader for the $3 billion program has drawn attention from lawmakers.

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