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Brownback Offers To Postpone Kancare For DD Waiver Services

Shortly after hundreds of Kansans converged on the Statehouse to oppose one aspect of Gov. Sam Brownback’s Medicaid reform plan, the governor has acceded to their demands—at least partially.

The Brownback Administration has been insisting for months that KanCare—the plan to contract with private companies to run Medicaid—must encompass all Medicaid services, including long-term care and supports for people with developmental disabilities.  At a Statehouse rally, Senator Dick Kelsey, of Goddard called for the governor and lawmakers to slow down.

“And we don’t want to destroy something very good on the hopes that maybe we’ll have something a little bit better," Kelsey said. "Let’s prove this thing first.”

A few hours later, the governor’s office issued a news release saying the administration now endorses a legislative proposal to wait until January of 2014 to include non-medical disability supports in KanCare. 

The governor’s spokeswoman, Sherriene Jones-Sontag, says the governor and lieutenant-governor are confident that KanCare will be an improvement for those who rely on Medicaid, but they recognize the uncertainty many still feel.

“They believe that allowing another year of discussion and input will make everyone feel comfortable with the program, and allow the administration to craft solutions to the concerns that they are expressing," Jones-Sontag said.

Tom Laing heads Interhab, the association that represents disability service providers statewide.  He says the governor’s announcement does not mean an agreement has been reached, but it shows progress…

“It indicates that he’s been listening, and he’s been looking at the facts, and the facts are telling him what they’re telling us—which is that this thing is not ready to go forward," Laing said.

Laing says what’s needed is not a postponement, but an outright exclusion—or carve-out—of long-term supports from KanCare.

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