Medicaid

Alex Proimos, flickr Creative Commons

Last fall NPR, Harvard, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation partnered to survey Americans about their perceptions of health care. Kansas was one of seven states singled out for a closer look. And the thing that stood out about Kansans was the degree of concern they expressed about the cost of health care.

Stephen Koranda file photo

Budget problems are forcing Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to make cuts in the state Medicaid program that he once said he wouldn’t make.

In 2012, Brownback was pushing lawmakers to approve his plan to privatize Medicaid. In his State of the State speech that year he said creating KanCare would save money--and do it in a more responsible way than other states.

“Now many states are either kicking people off of Medicaid or paying doctors and other providers less," he said. "Neither of these choices providers better outcomes.”

Elana Gordon / KCUR

Kansas has delayed cutting off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood facilities in the state and has postponed any action against the organization until June 7.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri spokeswoman Bonyen Lee-Gilmore said Wednesday that the state sought another extension to prepare for the first hearing in a federal lawsuit challenging the cutoff and that the delays are sign of how the state's decision is "all political."

"Clearly, there's no public health emergency at play," she said.

Susie Fagan / KHI News

A new coalition is forming to push Gov. Sam Brownback and legislators to expand KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program. Members of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas jammed a Statehouse meeting room on Monday to kick off their campaign.

Brownback and Republican leaders have blocked any serious consideration of KanCare expansion for the past four legislative sessions because they remain strongly opposed to the federal health reform law they call Obamacare.

Jim McClean / Heartland Health Monitor

Members of Gov. Sam Brownback’s Rural Health Working Group have their work cut out for them.

Representatives of the state’s hospitals and doctors briefed Lieutenant Gov. Jeff Colyer and other members group Tuesday night at its first meeting.

The Kansas Hospital Association’s Melissa Hungerford says many rural providers are being hit hard by the combination of older and sicker patients, the lack of Medicaid expansion and declining Medicare reimbursements.

Jasleen Kaur, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas’ rejection of Medicaid expansion has now cost the state more than $1 billion in lost federal revenue.

The Kansas Hospital Association keeps a running total of how much federal money the state is losing because it hasn’t expanded KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

That total spun past $1 billion over the weekend.

Hospitals say they urgently need the additional federal dollars to offset reductions in other federal reimbursements.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

A recent report credits the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, for helping to reduce the racial and ethnic inequalities in health insurance coverage. But Kansas has not made as much progress as other states. Heartland Health Monitor’s Bryan Thompson investigates why—and what can be done about it.

Mike Sherry / KHI News

Wyandot Inc., an umbrella organization for four nonprofit agencies in Kansas City, Kansas, that serve the mentally ill and the homeless, has eliminated 26 positions. 

The agency, which has been around since 1953, has been hit hard by Kansas’ decision to get rid of two programs that accounted for more than $1 million of its revenues.

Matt Allworth, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Senate has approved a bill designed to cut Kansas' costs in providing prescription drugs for poor and disabled residents.

The chamber's vote Wednesday was 23-16, sending the measure to the House.

The bill would allow the state's Medicaid program to use so-called step therapies for prescriptions that require patients to try less expensive drugs before obtaining more expensive ones.

Stephen Koranda

A rule in the Kansas House was used today to block a proposal to expand Medicaid.

Democratic Rep. Jim Ward offered the budget amendment to expand Medicaid under the federal health care law. He says it would provide more than 150,000 Kansans with health care coverage.

“Over 50 percent of these are working Kansans who go to work every day but work in jobs that don’t pay enough to buy insurance or don’t provide employer-based insurance,” Ward says.

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