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As the Legislature concluded the regular session without an approved budget for fiscal 2011, the governor and Senate GOP leaders repeated their calls for tax increases when lawmakers return to Topeka for the wrap-up session.
In the final hours before adjourning the regular session, legislators worked their way through several health-related bills, including one that will mandate coverage for autism services and orally administered cancer drugs.
The Senate voted 21-13 to send the bill back to the Ways and Means Committee.
A private donation to help clear the state's backlog of Medicaid applications has been received but the problem that is now entering its fourth year isn't likely to be resolved in the near future.
Union spokesmen say state workers aren't getting best prices for hundreds of generic drugs. But the state's pharmacy contractor and at least one legislator say the complaints are baseless and part of a bigger union effort.
The Kansas Senate is close to debating a bill that could generate $86 million a year in additional Medicaid funding for Kansas nursing homes.
A conference committee today agreed to postpone deliberations on legislation that would require state-regulated insurance companies to cover autism services and oral chemotherapy.
The Legislature took first adjournment in the early hours Wednesday with budget and tax work far from complete and a statewide smoking ban still one of the few major accomplishments of the year.
Children's Mercy Family Health Partners sent notice Friday to doctors and other medical providers it works with that they won't face the 10 percent reduction in Medicaid rates ordered by the governor as part of efforts to balance the state budget.
Democrats in the U.S. Senate today overcame continuing opposition from Republicans, including Kansans Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback, and approved a package of planned changes to the sweeping health care overhaul bill signed into law Tuesday by the president. Concersn raised about consequences for small, rural hospitals.
A bill expected to generate $86 million a year in additional Medicaid funding for Kansas nursing homes has been amended by the Senate Ways and Means Committee to make clear that most of that money will be spent to improve care – not to reward executives or shareholders.
A $50 gift card incentive for members of the state health insurance program may be a thing of the past.
The governor and budget committees in both the House and Senate have said they intend to restore the10 percent cut in Medicaid reimbursements that became effective Jan. 1.
Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, a Republican, has written a letter urging Kansas Attorney General Steve Six, a Democrat, to join counterparts from several other states in suing the federal government over health reform.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and various medical groups have put together a plan for tracking and preventing hospital infections.
The REACH Healthcare Foundation today announced the election of eight members to its board of directors, including seven new people.
A large majority of Kansans would support a $1 tax increase on cigarettes to help resolve the state’s budget deficit, according to a poll released Tuesday.
Republicans in the U.S. Senate and House are hoping to repeal the health reform law signed Tuesday morning by President Obama.
Dave Trabert of the Kansas Policy Institute calls for a budget solution that "holds education harmless" without new taxes.
The House on Tuesday finalized its rejection of a proposed constitutional amendment that supporters said would help fight a federal requirement that everyone have health insurance. Meanwhile, Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, a leading sponsor, held a press conference with a doctor claiming to be Barack Obama's second cousin, urging legislators to rethink their opposition to the amendment, which critics said would accomplish nothing beyond cluttering the constitution and misleading voters.
The Kansas House plan for balancing next year’s budget assumes Congress will delay rolling back the federal government’s participation in the state’s Medicaid-funded programs.
Free diabetes screening will be available Tuesday for legislators and state employees. According to KDHE, more than 170,000 Kansans have been diagnosed with diabetes – up 20,000 from the previous year.
A proposed addition to the Kansas Constitution that supporters said would help protect Kansans from federal health reform mandates failed to get 83 votes in the Kansas House.
By a vote of 219-212, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Senate-passed health reform bill, which can now go to the president for signature into law. But the debate in Kansas, and across the country, continues.
One of the most often cited reasons for passing health care reform is the problem of costs - health insurance costs and health care costs.
The head of a statewide consumer coalition is expecting Sunday’s U.S. House vote on health reform legislation to be “razor thin.”
Over the last year, we’ve heard sobering statistics about our health care system. In Kansas, we are feeling the pinch of unstable employment, skyrocketing insurance premiums, and high out-of-pocket health care expenses. According to a report issued this week, the situation is sure to get worse without health reform.
Insurance lobbyists renewed their opposition Thursday to a bill that would require health insurers to cover oral chemotherapies the same way they do intravenous chemotherapies.
It's not clear what will happen to federal health reform legislation that would require chain restaurants to label menu items, but the Kansas Legislature won't take any action on the measure this year.
A House-passed bill to expand a tax incentive for businesses that create or retain jobs in the state has been rewritten by a Senate committee to limit its cost and avoid a veto.
Plans to increase taxes on tobacco, alcohol, sugary drinks and general sales were each rejected by the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee. Members even shot down a bill that would benefit retailers for fear it would be a vehicle for amendments on the Senate floor.
About 300 people from across Kansas came to Topeka as part of Mental Health Advocacy Day.
House GOP leaders today released their plan for a balanced budget without tax increases, saying it would not require "draconian cuts." The plan relies heavily on reduced spending for highways and K-12 schools. It also counts on an influx of federal dollars for Medicaid that has not yet been finalized by Congress.
A new proposal in the Kansas House would allow some bars to permit their customers to smoke indoors.
The Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee voted Wednesday to table a House-passed bill that would have exposed welfare recipients to random drug testing.
Busloads of beverage workers helped fill the hearing room and the hallways of the Statehouse.
To accommodate $800,000 in salary cuts, the agency would have to lay off 45 of its 190 Medicaid workers.
House members voted to wait until May 3 to consider tax legislation, saying that's when they would have a clearer idea of the state's budget needs.
The Senate Commerce Committee is expected to discuss trading one tax break for another in an effort to expand a job-creation program at little or no additional cost to the treasury.
State employees will likely pay more for their health insurance in 2011, but not as much as previously expected.
After weeks of talking about weak revenues and budget cuts, the Legislature this week takes up various tax proposals ranging from elimination of sales tax exemptions to a new tax on soda pop.
The chairman of the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee on Monday proposed a four-fold plan for raising more than $340 million for the state treasury.
There are enough votes to pass a $300 million to $400 million tax increase, the governor told KHI News Service. Still uncertain, he said, is the specific mix of taxes legislators will settle on.
A Salina-based oncologist has been named director for the University of Kansas School of Medicine expansion in Salina.
The association that represents community programs for the developmentally disabled filed a mandamus action Friday with the Kansas Supreme Court asking for an immediate rollback of Medicaid and other budget cuts.
In Kansas, two groups of people can be denied the right to vote: criminals and the mentally ill.
The signing of a bill Friday to enact a statewide smoking ban was a victory for public health officials, Gov. Mark Parkinson said.
A follow-up bill has been introduced in the Kansas House that would alter the statewide smoking ban signed into law by Gov. Mark Parkinson on Friday.
Democrats on the House Social Services Budget Committee refused to go along with the committee’s recommended cuts to SRS and the Kansas Health Policy Authority.
After making substantial changes, a House committee on Thursday approved a bill that assigns new duties and in some cases titles for the different levels of Emergency Medical Services workers.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee on Thursday upheld proposed cuts in the budgets of the Kansas Health Policy Authority and the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.
A proposed constitutional amendment meant to protect Kansans from a possible "individual mandate" to have health insurance "is a symbolic measure and nothing more," according to a KU law professor who clerked under U.S. Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Byron White.
A bill that sets the stage for requiring state-regulated insurance plans to cover autism was heard Wednesday in the Senate insurance committee.
Some of the Legislature's strongest supporters of early childhood development programs signed off on sharp cuts in children's programs, re-emphasizing the signal from Senate GOP leaders that tax increases will be necessary.
“There’s nothing in here that puts a focus on quality of care. It's a sieve,” said Mitzi McFatrich of Kansas Advocates for Better Care.
A compromise appears to be in the works on a proposal to expand tax incentives for companies that create or maintain jobs in Kansas.
A bill that would tax makers or first vendors of soda pop and other sugary drinks at 1 cent per teaspoon of sugar is scheduled to be heard Wednesday by the Senate Assessment & Taxation Committee
Advocates for the disabled stuck 58 crosses in the ground outside the Statehouse in an effort to call attention to the 58 who have died while on the state's waiting list for Medicaid-funded in-home services.
Opponents weigh in on tobacco tax proposal: Mom-and-pop cigar shops will be forced from business and shoppers will head to Missouri for smokes, booze, gasoline and other goods.
Gov. Mark Parkinson has scheduled three signing ceremonies for a bill that will ban smoking in most public places statewide.
HB 2593 met opposition from Republicans who said it was a "feel-good" measure that would damage the food and beverage industry with no assurance the money raised would go for the intended purpose. But a Senate version of the bill has been introduced and was referred Wednesday to the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee.
Members of the Senate budget committee that oversees spending by the Kansas Health Policy Authority made clear today they were unhappy with proposed budget cuts offered by the agency. In the course of three meetings Tuesday, members twice told the agency's chief to go back and try again
House Bill 2673 would use a $1,325-per-year tax on licensed nursing home beds to generate about $30 million which, in turn, would be used to draw down $56 million in additional Medicaid funding.
Backers of a bill that would expand tax incentives for companies that create new jobs said the measure would generate more tax dollars than the state would give away.
In November 2009, the Kansas Health Institute (KHI) launched Children’s Health in All Policies (CHAP), a new initiative designed to address policies that impact children’s health in the context of policy-making at all levels.
A House bill that would require health care providers to make it easier for consumers to find out the cost of health services is a good start, several supporters said Tuesday.
“My mother had a habit of leaving me – when I was 10 years old -- with my four brothers and sisters while my dad was in rehab for a week or two at a time,” Rachel Perkins, 19, said Monday during testimony before the House Federal and State Affairs Committee.
Supporters of a measure that would increase the cigarette tax by 55 cents a pack turned out in force. Hearings on a general sales tax increase expected to begin Thursday.
The House Judiciary Committee introduced a resolution to amend the state constitution to give the Legislature authority to limit non-economic damages in personal injury cases.
The House Social Services Budget Committee voted to favorably recommend Senate Bill 200.
The Kansas Board of Emergency Medical Services asks prospective applicants if they've been convicted of a felony. The number of people who answer "yes" has more than doubled in the last five years.
Bills designed to increase federal support for home and community based services were dealt a major setback Monday when legislators learned federal officials were unlikely to go along with the plan.
HB 2682 could prompt some employers to abandon small-group insurance, according to the Kansas Insurance Department. But the state's leading small-business groups are backing the measure.
The House has approved House Bill 2538, which would allow qualifying businesses to keep 95 percent of the income taxes withheld from employees’ paychecks for five years.
Senate Pres. Steve Morris said the federal government should continue to pay a greater share of Medicaid costs.
“Small companies don’t enjoy the same benefits as large companies in contributing to employee health benefits,” said Rep. Arlen Siegfreid. “We want to make insurance more affordable. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish. We want more people on insurance.”
Gov. Mark Parkinson got high marks from legislators for doing "the dirty work" on the budget. But he wasn't returning any compliments. Instead, he accused the Legislature of giving away the store for the benefit of the "wealthy and well connected."
“I’m concerned when I hear we’re in this for money," said The Very Reverend Edward Fellhauer, who runs St. Francis Community Services. "That is just not accurate."
“It’s very good news,” said Larned Mayor Robert Pivonka. “Everybody who’s been involved in this is satisfied. Things are proceeding as well as anyone expected.”
State health officer Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips makes the case for healthier food in schools.
Kansas primary care physicians say they’re receptive to adopting a patient-centered, medical home model of care.
SB 447 would require all child-care facilities to be inspected at least once every 15 months and create standards of care.
The Senate Tax Committee will hold three days of hearings on Gov. Mark Parkinson’s tax proposals, including one to increase the levy on tobacco sales. Parkinson in January proposed raising tobacco taxes along with a three-year, 1-cent general sales tax increase. The new taxes would help resolve a budget deficit that continues to grow.
President Obama is likely to have the support of only one Kansas member of Congress for his new health reform proposal. But even that remains uncertain.
Restricting school vending machine choices to healthy foods and drinks would help youngsters learn to eat better, public health and education officials said Wednesday.
The surest way to improve the state’s foster care system is to solve the problems that force children into it, a pair of juvenile court judges said Wednesday.
A measure that would let health officials take information from birth certificates in order to survey mothers of newborns faces an uncertain future in the Kansas Legislature.
House Health and Human Services Committee hears support for increasing minimal education requirement for licensed audiologists.
Full text of the president's speech on health reform given Wednesday in the East Room at the White House to a crowd of doctors, nurses and other medical providers.
A national expert says Kansas’ foster care system appears to be as good or better than most.
Sponsors said a proposed rewrite of the state constitution was needed to let the federal government know Kansans don't want to be told they must buy health insurance. But opponents say it was a plan created by the health insurance industry to preserve a failed status quo.
In Kansas, most physicians buy malpractice insurance through KaMMCO, a mutual insurance company that is an affiliate of the Kansas Medical Society.
A look at how well Kansans’ nutritional intake conforms to the national recommended dietary guidelines.
A law that started out limiting total awards to malpractice victims was modified over time.
Some states cap awards. Others, like Minnesota, do not.
Medical providers and others are anxiously waiting to see what the Kansas Supreme Court will do about the state's $250,000 cap on awards for pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases.
SB 499, which is aimed at improving school food offerings, scheduled for hearing.
KHPA Executive Director Andy Allison said the state needs to take a closer look at the value it is getting from its managed care contracts.
KHPA chief says the biggest, near-term opportunity for cutting the state’s Medicaid costs could be found in controlling spending on services for the disabled and elderly.