New KanCare Plan Leaves Lawmakers at Odds

Republican legislators have temporarily sidetracked an effort to block the Brownback administration from obtaining federal approval to renew KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

Democrats on a joint committee that oversees KanCare wanted the panel’s report to the full Legislature to recommend keeping the current program in place until a newly elected governor takes office in January 2019.

Sen. Laura Kelly, of Topeka, the top Democrat on the oversight committee said if they were to extend KanCare by five years, which is what this plan does, it would take it right through the entire first term of the next administration, and she is not comfortable as a legislator doing that.

In addition to the timing issue, advocates and some lawmakers are concerned about several provisions in the administration’s KanCare 2.0 plan, including work requirements and lifetime caps on services for some beneficiaries.

But with two Democrats and a moderate Republican who has been critical of KanCare absent at the time of the vote, Kelly had no chance of prevailing. So Sen. Vicki Schmidt, a moderate Republican from Topeka and chairwoman of the committee, suggested that the panel take no position.

That didn’t sit well with conservative Republicans who wanted to go on record in support of the administration, specifically Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, who will take the reins of state government if and when the U.S. Senate confirms Gov. Brownback’s nomination to a State Department post.

*This report was provided by Jim McLean of the Kansas News Service

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Now in his third year as News Director at KD-Country 94 and Z-96.3 The Lake, Chad is a jack of not all, but many trades. He spent previous years of his working life in hotel management, event planning, security, the aviation industry, staff writing for a newspaper, and as a small business owner. He began doing play-by-play of high school sports for KDNS and KZDY in 2009 and came to work full time for the stations in July of 2015. He is a single-father of an eight year old daughter and enjoys spending his free time with her. His favorite activities include attending live music and sporting events as well as being a singer/songwriter. A natural conversationalist, he also enjoys a good discussion/debate on a myriad of topics from current events and politics to sports and philosophy. He resides in Glen Elder with his daughter and continues to write sports and meeting stories for the local newspaper.