Medicaid

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.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

Medicaid applications are piling up in Topeka because of problems with a new computer system, which are also causing some Kansans to lose their coverage.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File Photo

Committees in the Kansas House and Senate have introduced a Medicaid expansion bill modeled after one approved by Indiana’s conservative Republican governor and legislature.

The Kansas proposal is designed to appeal to the Republicans who control the legislature. It would require the approximately 150,000 people expected to gain coverage to help pay for it. And it would cancel coverage for those who fall behind in their payments.

Disney | ABC Television Group, flickr Creative Commons

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is calling on Kansas to expand its Medicaid program to provide health coverage for thousands of additional families.

Clinton issued a statement Monday, hours before the Republican-dominated Legislature opened its annual session.

The federal health overhaul championed by Democratic President Barack Obama encourages states to expand their Medicaid programs and promises the federal government will pay almost all of the cost.

Clinton said expanding Medicaid also would help small rural hospitals.

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