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Dec. 17, 2012
TOPEKA The chairs of the House and Senate health committees today announced that they will introduce a bill to expand the role of the Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services to include oversight of KanCare, Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to remake the state's Medicaid program.
“There will undoubtedly be some bumps in road,” said Rep. David Crum, R-Augusta. “Therefore, it will be important to have continued oversight of Kancare.”
Crum and Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, said the bill would be introduced in their respective committees early in the 2013 legislative session.
As proposed, an interim committee would begin oversight of KanCare in the summer or fall of 2013.
Until then, Crum said, the health committees in the House and Senate would oversee KanCare’s implementation, which begins Jan. 1.
Crum also chairs the nine-member Joint Committee on Home and Based Services, which earlier this month expressed an interest in overseeing KanCare.
The proposed oversight committee would have 11 members; six from the House, five from the Senate.
Crum and Pilcher-Cook expressed support for KanCare. “Medicaid has so often in the past been unresponsive to patients,” Pilcher-Cook said. “This program (KanCare) is designed to put patients at the center so they have choices, meaningful choices.”
Under KanCare, virtually all the state's 380,000 Medicaid beneficiaries will be rolled into managed care plans run by three insurance companies: United Healthcare, Amerigroup and Sunflower State Health Plan, a subsidiary of Centene.
Pilcher-Cook said she thought KanCare will be “more efficient” and “not cost taxpayers more dollars.”
Crum, who currently chairs the House Social Services Budget Committee, said he’s been “more than impressed” by the Brownback administration’s efforts to have KanCare up and running by Jan. 1.
Last week, Speaker-elect Ray Merrick announced that Crum had been picked to chair the chamber’s Health and Human Services Committee, replacing Rep. Brenda Landwehr, a Wichita Republican who was defeated in the November general election.
Crum also will serve as vice chair of the Social Services Budget Committee, which will be chaired by Rep. Brian Weber, R-Dodge City.
Weber, in turn, will be vice chair of the House health committee.
Pilcher-Cook, a conservative member of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee for the past four years, was named chair, replacing moderate Sen. Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka.
Meeting with reporters Monday, Pilcher-Cook and Crum were joined by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, who said the adminstration would welcome legislative oversight.
"We embrace accountability," Colyer said, "and that's what this is about."
Afterward, the Kansas Health Consumer Coalition issued a statement, endorsing Crum and Pilcher-Cook's proposal.
"We applaud today's announcement because effective legislative oversight of KanCare is necessary to protect Medicaid beneficiaries and to achieve transparency and accountability for stakeholders," said Anna Lambertson, the coalition's executive director. "We have consistently advocated for legislative oversight of KanCare since the program was first announced."
→ House GOP leaders pen letter backing DD supports in KanCare (5/17/13)
→ More than 1,000 rally at Statehouse for DD carve-out (5/8/13)
→ Nothing to be done about coverage gap in states not expanding Medicaid, feds say (4/29/13)
→ As KanCare continuity of care period ends, problems persist; legislators starting to hear about it (4/8/13)
→ Advocates raise concerns over possible reductions in KanCare services (3/28/13)
→ Conferees agree on KanCare oversight committee (3/28/13)
→ DD advocates push to extend KanCare "carve-out" (3/20/13)
→ Safety-net clinics struggling with KanCare (3/4/13)
→ Major medical provider groups ask for longer KanCare transition (2/13/13)
→ Lawmakers and providers assess KanCare transition (1/28/13)
→ Five-part series: "Lower cost and better care: Can KanCare deliver?" (1/14/13)
→ Independence of KanCare ombudsman questioned (1/7/13)
→ KanCare special terms and conditions spelled out by CMS in a document (12/28/12)
→ KanCare workforce shift hampering local agencies (12/10/12)
→ Governor announces KanCare approval by feds (12/7/12)
→ More KanCare implementation details outlined (12/3/12)
→ Federal officials say they hope to act soon on KanCare waiver request (11/28/12)
→ New KanCare info included on state website (11/20/12)
→ Groups call for KanCare delay (11/8/12)
→ Go/no-go date looms this week for KanCare (10/15/12)
→ KanCare benefit packages outlined (9/26/12)
→ Provider groups nervous about lack of KanCare details (9/13/12)
→ KanCare Confidential (9/10/12)
→ KanCare contracts awarded (6/27/12)
→ KanCare plan panned again at public hearing (6/20/12)
→ Wichita KanCare forum draws more than 200 (6/19/12)
→ Medicaid makeover: Can Kansas learn from Kentucky? (6/11/12)
→ Hundreds protest inclusion of disability services in KanCare (4/25/12)
→ Counties weighing in on KanCare (4/9/12)
→ Hospital administrator to chair KanCare Advisory Council (3/29/12)
→ Brownback Medicaid makeover an “ambitious” plan (3/28/12)
→ KanCare bidders heavily courting Medicaid providers (3/19/12)
→ Legislators push to delay KanCare start (3/7/12)
→ Brownback announces managed care for all in Medicaid (11/8/11)
→ Kansas Medicaid makeover in the works (3/7/11)
→ Full Medicaid and KanCare coverage
The KHI News Service is an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute and is committed to timely, objective and in-depth coverage of health issues and the policy making environment. Find more about the News Service at khi.org/newsservice or contact us at (785) 783-2529.