Governor hopefuls want power to change KanCare

National News

August 22, 2018 - 10:43 AM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer’s administration plans to proceed with changes included in new contracts for KanCare but his administration says the state’s next governor will have some flexibility to change the state’s privatized Medicaid program.
Colyer narrowly lost this month’s GOP primary election to Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who said he doesn’t want the new contracts to prevent him from making changes to KanCare if he is elected in November. Democrat Laura Kelly and independent Greg Orman also are planning reforms for KanCare if they win the governor’s race.
The state has awarded three new contracts for KanCare, which take effect in January as Colyer is leaving office, The Wichita Eagle reported .
The governor’s top Medicaid official said Monday the contracts provide flexibility to change the program, which provides care for more than 400,000 low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities. The three contracts are worth about $1 billion each annually.
The new contracts would include some work requirements, and state officials have promised better oversight and responsiveness to consumers.
But State Medicaid director Jon Hamdorf said Monday during a legislative hearing that the administration is delaying many of the changes, including work requirements, to allow lawmakers to review the changes.
Kobach said contracts that have already been awarded should be honored but he is planning other reforms, including a pilot program to allow patients to pay their doctor $50 a month for unlimited primary care visits.
“Therefore, I am hopeful that the current administration will not tie the state down for an extended period of time in a manner that would delay these reforms,” Kobach said in a statement.
Kelly has said she wants to eventually move Kansas away from a for-profit Medicaid system and expand the program but she said Monday said she won’t “do anything drastic to make an ideological point.”
“If we’re going to change things, I will want to make sure we have a transition plan in place that ensures people have continuity of service throughout and there’s no gap,” she said Monday.
Orman has said providers that serve customers better and lower costs should be rewarded with more business. He also wants to create incentives for KanCare recipients to stay healthy and expand Medicaid.
“I think any Governor would like to have a clean slate as it relates to a program as important as KanCare. With that said, I wouldn’t want any delay in implementing contracts to affect recipients,” Orman said in a statement.
The Colyer administration said the new contracts will last three years, with the option for one-year renewals. The contracts also allow for early termination.

February 4, 2022
July 22, 2018
July 4, 2018
April 24, 2018