Medicaid

healthcare.gov

Close to 25,000 Kansans have signed up for health insurance through the online marketplace , despite uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act under a new administration. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service reported Wednesday that 24,778 people in Kansas had signed up for insurance since open enrollment for 2017 started Nov. 1. The number of people seeking insurance was up less than 2 percent compared to the same period during open enrollment last year. President-elect...

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.

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. Lead analyst Robin Arnold-Williams says turning Medicaid over to three managed...

KHI News Service/File photo

The heads of Kansas’ 26 community mental health centers are preparing to push an ambitious set of proposals to address what they say are growing gaps in the state’s behavioral health system. In addition to restoring funding cuts made prior to the Great Recession, the center directors want Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and lawmakers to expand a network of regional crisis intervention centers. Currently, the Rainbow Services Inc., or RSI, center in Kansas City and one operated by Comcare in...

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

A panel tasked with finding “Kansas solutions” for health care delivery problems in rural Kansas turned its attention to behavioral health Tuesday. At a meeting in Larned, Eric Van Allen told the Rural Health Working Group that Kansas spends about $400 million annually on behavioral health — including roughly $175 million through the Medicaid program. Van Allen, who represents the Boston-based behavioral health management company Beacon Health Options , suggested Kansas might try shifting...

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...

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

Advocates for Medicaid expansion in Kansas are focusing on a new issue in their final push before next week’s election: They’re selling expansion as a way to address the state’s mental health crisis and the public safety concerns it’s giving rise to. It’s no secret that the mental health system in Kansas is strained almost to the breaking point. State hospitals are at capacity. And after suffering millions of dollars in budget cuts, community mental health centers are struggling to maintain...

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. The nearly $74,000 it doled out in the most recent reporting period went mostly to candidates who favor Medicaid expansion. A PAC funded by mental health...

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...

Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

A coalition of Kansas health care providers, business organizations and local governments is stepping up its lobbying campaign for Medicaid expansion. Just this week the coalition has staged media conferences in Wichita and Manhattan to push for the expansion of KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program. In Manhattan, business leaders made the economic case for expansion. Kristin Brighton chairs the board of the area chamber of commerce. “Not expanding Medicaid is stunting our state...

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