Medicaid expansion

Dave Ranney, File Photo / Heartland Health Monitor

Gov. Sam Brownback said he's disappointed that the state's backlog in unprocessed Medicaid applications is four times as large as previously thought.

As Kansas and a contractor battle over who bears blame for the error, Brownback called the situation "frustrating" in a short interview with the Topeka Capital-Journal.

The number of unprocessed Medicaid applications had been about 3,500 people before the state acknowledged earlier this month that the actual figure was more than 15,000.

Susie Fagan / KHI News Service

Supporters of Medicaid expansion are kicking off a campaign to mobilize Kansas voters on the issue.

Courtesy

A new survey by Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute shows stark differences between states that have expanded Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, and those—like Kansas and Missouri—that haven’t.

Researchers interviewed leaders of major hospital systems and safety net clinics in seven states--four that expanded Medicaid and three that didn’t.

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.”

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.

http://www.kancare.ks.gov

A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says approximately 34,000 Kansans could get treatment for mental illness or substance abuse disorders if the state would agree to expand its Medicaid program, known as KanCare.

Amy Campbell is a lobbyist for the Kansas Mental Health Coalition, which represents a wide range of Kansans with an interest in mental health. She thinks coverage through KanCare might help relieve some of the pressure on the state mental hospitals.

expandkancare.com

Supporters of Medicaid expansion in Kansas have been stymied by Gov. Sam Brownback’s unyielding opposition. A new alliance is focusing on passing an expansion bill in 2017.

The Alliance for a Healthy Kansas boasts 70 members, including advocacy groups, health care providers, unions and foundations. Although polls show a majority of Kansans support extending Medicaid to an estimated 150,000 additional low-income Kansans, Kansas remains one of 19 states that have refused to budge on the issue.

David Jordan takes the reins of the alliance next week.

Public Opinion Strategies

A new Kansas Hospital Association poll shows strong support in Kansas for expanding Medicaid coverage to more low-income adults.

The poll, done in mid-February, shows that 63 percent of likely voters support expanding eligibility for KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

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.

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