Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said this week that the Brownback administration is listening to the concerns of advocates, consumers and families about its Medicaid reform plan. But if that were really the case, it would delay the reform and carve out long-term care for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Instead it pressed on, asking the Legislature to fund “education efforts” about the reform and appointing an advisory council.
Even if the administration won’t listen to the public or lawmakers, it won’t have any choice but to delay if it doesn’t receive a waiver from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) – which is quite possible.
Parents have been pleading with the administration not to include the developmentally disabled in its plan to privatize Medicaid. They prefer the current partnership between state and local governments and service providers, and they don’t trust for-profit insurance companies to look out for the best interest of their sons and daughters.
But the administration won’t listen and insists that it knows best.
Lawmakers are also objecting. A bill by Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, would exclude long-term care of the developmentally disabled from the plan. And the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee plans a hearing today on a resolution calling on the administration to delay implementation of its KanCare plan by six months, from Jan. 1, 2013, until July 1, 2013.
The resolution already has 22 backers, and Sen. Dick Kelsey, R-Goddard, predicts that at least 30 of the Senate’s 40 members would vote for it. The Senate likely will delay that vote until the end of the session, he said, so it can see what CMS decides about the administration’s waiver request.
Kelsey thinks CMS won’t approve the request – at least not in the time period the administration needs to launch its reform on schedule.
That seems particularly likely given that former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is U.S. secretary of health and human services. She wouldn’t want to rush approval of a reform that is nearly universally opposed by the developmentally disabled community.
Several hundred developmentally disabled Kansans and their advocates went to the Statehouse on Tuesday and urged lawmakers to try to delay the reform. “They seem to be listening,” one advocate told the Topeka Capital-Journal.
The same can’t be said of the Brownback administration.
For the editorial board, Phillip Brownlee