Kelly, Schmidt clash on $4 billion Medicaid contracts

Legislation introduced in the House to freeze the contract with three managed-care companies until the end of 2024 generated no public support, but passed a GOP-led committee. Instead of campaigning for that bill, Republican lawmakers simply dropped a provision into a budget bill requiring the delay.

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State News

March 31, 2022 - 2:07 PM

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt, likely opponents in the November election for governor, disagree on whether the Legislature can force extension of the state’s $4 billion Medicaid contract for one year. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — The administration of Gov. Laura Kelly sent a letter to leaders of the Kansas Legislature urging removal of a budget provision mandating a one-year extension of the $4 billion Medicaid contracts because the move raised constitutional questions and conflicted with decisions of the Kansas Supreme Court and past opinions of the state attorney general’s office.

Will Lawrence, chief of staff to the governor, forwarded Monday a letter to more than a dozen legislators and Attorney General Derek Schmidt pointing to legal risks of a moratorium on rebidding the contract for services to approximately 500,000 Kansans enrolled in Medicaid. GOP legislators sought delay of work updating the KanCare contract until after the November election in which voters will decide whether to re-elect or replace the Democratic governor. Schmidt is campaigning for the GOP nomination for governor.

Legislation introduced in the House to freeze the contract with three managed-care companies until the end of 2024 generated no public support, but passed a GOP-led committee. Instead of campaigning for that bill, Republican lawmakers simply dropped a provision into a budget bill requiring the delay.

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