KHI News Service

KanCare protest rally scheduled

Wendell Potter, a former insurance executive and whistleblower, will speak

By KHI NEWS SERVICE | March 09, 2012

Wendell Potter

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Organizers say about 400 people are expected to attend a rally here next week protesting the inclusion of long-term care services for the developmentally disabled in Gov. Sam Brownback's Medicaid makeover plan.

Insurance industry critic Wendell Potter will be the featured speaker.

Potter is a former public relations executive for insurance giant Cigna. He left the industry unhappy with its opposition to the 2010 federal health reform law. He is author of the book "Deadly Spin," which chronicles the industry's campaign against the Affordable Care Act.

Potter spoke against the Brownback Medicaid plan during a January appearance in Kansas City, Mo.

The rally, sponsored by Interhab, is scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Ramada Inn Regency Ballroom, 420 S.E. Sixth in Topeka. The rally will move to the Statehouse afterwards where participants will try to meet with legislators.

Interhab is the association that represents most of the state's Community Developmental Disability Organizations (CDDOs).

"Interhab members feel that forcing long-term care DD services into KanCare is like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole," said Interhab Executive Director Tom Laing. "They want to be heard."

Advocates for the developmentally disabled have been among the most outspoken critics of the governor's plan and have held a series of forums in cities across the state.

KanCare, announced by the governor in November last year, is scheduled to begin Jan. 1, 2013, contingent upon federal approval. It would move most of the state's Medicaid beneficiaries into risk-based managed care plans run by three large, for-profit companies. Five companies currently are vying for the three contracts that administration officials have said they intend to award. The companies' bid proposals currently are being reviewed by a state procurement team.

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