Managing Editor, KHI News Service
- Contact Mike
- Call: 785-233-5443
Mike Shields, Managing Editor of the KHI News Service, directs news content and special communications projects. Before joining KHI, he was the city editor at the Lawrence Journal-World. He has covered Kansas government as a reporter for Harris News Service and other news organizations for almost three decades. He has won multiple state and national awards, including the Burton W. Marvin Kansas News Enterprise Award in 1993. Shields earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism and history from Wichita State University and has a special interest in Geographic Information Systems. He is fluent in Spanish.
Kansas is among the states where federal officials will run the new health insurance exchanges but the state’s top insurance regulators said they hope to inject a local flavor. Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger said her agency has been in discussion with the feds about having some of the more complex calls to the exchange’s toll-free helpline roll over to her department so that Kansas consumers come in touch quickly with local people more familiar with the Kansas insurance plans offered in the exchange and the governing regulations.
The regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services met with representatives of about 10 Kansas health consumer groups to discuss implementation of the Affordable Care Act. "It will be ready. It will happen," said administrator Stephene Moore of the Oct. 1 launch date for the ACA insurance marketplace.
School administrators at small, rural districts around the state say they are alarmed and confounded by the looming, new costs they face with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Kansas officials this week made public their first quarterly report to federal authorities on the progress of KanCare, Gov. Sam Brownback's initiative to move virtually all the state's Medicaid enrollees into privately run managed care plans.
The chairman of the House Taxation Committee defended the tax and budget plans approved by the Legislature this past session saying they would curb government spending, encourage business growth and further reduce income tax rates. But critics of the conservative Republican blueprints say they would put the state "on the path to ruin unless it changes course."
Medicaid services for the disabled in Kansas have been undergoing dramatic changes in the past 18 months and in response many smaller providers of so-called “payroll agent” or “financial management services” for disabled persons who prefer to hire their own care attendants are either changing their business models or simply going out of business.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt today made public a letter he sent to the chair of the Kansas Children's Cabinet describing his agency's role in tobacco settlement arbitration and responding to criticisms that his agency has not been forthcoming with information.
The House made short work Friday of rejecting the latest Senate tax compromise. Both chambers subsequently adjourned until after the Memorial Day weekend. But tax negotiating teams stayed behind long enough for the Senate to accept the House offer, which was not substantially different from what the House began offering two weeks ago and hardly different from the House plan voted down by the full Senate on Thursday. Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, R-Hutchinson, said he doubted the measure had gained "substantial support" in the Senate overnight but that it was "time to start voting," until agreement is found on the budget and taxes.
The Kansas Senate spent much of the 90th day of the legislative session preparing and then voting to approve its own compromise proposal after tax negotiations between the House and Senate broke down again. The unusual maneuver was based on hopes of Senate leaders that the full House would be more accepting of the Senate offer than House leaders have been now that the plan includes a reduction in the sales tax on food. But the Senate's vote came after the House had adjourned for the day, so lawmakers will be back at it on Friday trying to bring the 2013 session to a close.
The Kansas Legislature seems headed for overtime after House and Senate tax policy negotiators held multiple meetings Wednesday but seemed to get no closer to resolving the two chambers' differences. Thursday will be the 2013 session's 90th day, so the prospect of lawmakers finishing their work on time now seems out of reach.