KanCare

Abigail Beckman / KMUW

President-elect Donald Trump is planning to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act within the first 100 days of his administration, a move that will most likely stop efforts to expand the federal Medicaid program. The decision to expand or not was left up to state legislatures, and so far, Kansas lawmakers have chosen not to expand the state's privatized Medicaid program known as KanCare.

Kansas News Service/File photo

Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration has requested a one-year extension of the current KanCare program while delaying a proposal for an updated version of the Medicaid managed care system.

KanCare, which placed all 425,000 Kansans in Medicaid under the administration of three private insurance companies, began in 2013 and is scheduled to expire at the end of 2017.

State officials had planned to make changes to the current contracts and then apply for a long-term extension of KanCare with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the beginning of 2017.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

A task force chaired by Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer to address problems in rural health care determined that expanding telemedicine, addressing workforce shortages and giving providers more flexibility were key to Kansas’ future.

The Rural Health Working Group wrapped up a year of meetings Tuesday and is now compiling a set of recommendations to present to the Legislature ahead of the session that begins Jan. 9.

Courtesy Melinda Miner

At 59 years old, Bill Miller is starting to have neck and back problems. Thirty-two years of bending over to check patients’ teeth and gums will do that, he said.

Miller is the only dentist in Hill City, a community of about 1,500 people northwest of Hays. He has treated Medicaid patients his entire career, even as reimbursements increasingly have lagged the cost of providing care.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File Photo

Kansas privatized its Medicaid program in 2013, and there have been questions ever since--questions about how well KanCare is working. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, a new study may provide some answers.

Kansas officials are temporarily putting the brakes on a plan to seek reauthorization of KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

Michael Randol heads the division in the Department of Health and Environment that oversees KanCare. He told legislators on Friday that changes favored by President-elect Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders could give states more flexibility in structuring their Medicaid programs.

Jim McLean

A comprehensive study of KanCare, Kansas’ privatized Medicaid program, says while it has come close to meeting cost-cutting goals, it has burdened providers and failed to significantly improve the care for the more than 400,000 low-income and disabled Kansans it covers.

The study was done for several Kansas provider organization by a consulting firm run by former Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.

KHI News Service

Medicaid expansion advocates in Kansas say they’ll move forward with legislation despite national election results that signal a repeal of Obamacare.

But they are a lot less optimistic about their chances than they were before last week.

“There is still significant support in Kansas for expanding KanCare both in the public and among legislators,” said David Jordan, director of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, a nonprofit advocacy group formed to push for the expansion of KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

Jasleen Kaur / flickr Creative Commons

Campaign finance reports out this week show that Kansas health care organizations are putting their checkbooks behind the Medicaid expansion effort.

In previous elections the Kansas Hospital Association’s political action committee distributed contributions pretty evenly, giving to candidates regardless of party or ideology.

Not this year.

Abigail Beckman

Candidates for Kansas' District 27 Senate seat met for a forum Tuesday night in Colwich. District 27 includes northwest Wichita, Andale, Colwich and much of rural Sedgwick County between Goddard and Maize.

In the upcoming general election, Democrat Tony Hunter, a first-time candidate, faces Republican Gene Suellentrop, a former member of the House of Representatives. Among other topics, the candidates discussed their widely differing views on Medicaid expansion, a move that Suellentrop says has led to people "coming out of the woodwork" to enroll in the program.

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