KanCare a disaster for the disabled

By

Opinion

May 9, 2018 - 11:00 PM

One phrase that I dislike using is “I told you so.” It sounds pretentious, mean-spirited, almost revengeful, but in this situation, I can’t resist using it. I can hear my mother yelling at me right now “Timothy Lee,” which is my given name and used only when she is disappointed in me, “you know better than that.” I can’t help it though, it is so fitting. What am I so visionary about you ask? KanCare is the answer.

Recently, the Kansas Legislative Post Audit (LPA) released their report “Medicaid: Evaluating KanCare’s Effect on the State’s Medicaid Program” and its findings reinforced what I have been saying about KanCare for six years now; it’s not working and it’s never going to work. First of all, managed care companies are there to make a profit and according to the audit, in 2015 and 2016, they received $400 million more in payments from the state than what they paid out in claims. That’s $800 million in two years. That money could have been used to eliminate the state’s waiting list of over 4,000 people waiting for services in Kansas, helped fund schools appropriately and the state’s transportation program. Instead, that profit went to out-of-state mega insurance companies whose lobbyists freely roam the halls of our capital building in Topeka. The audit also found that per-person costs declined by 9 percent, which means services are being reduced, yet it shows total Medicaid costs remained stable. From that inference, the LPA indicated that “Kancare did not appear to have helped contain Medicaid claims costs.”

In addition, the audit found “significant data reliability issues” that prevented the LPA from assessing Kan-Care’s impact on outcomes. They also had issues with KDHE’s oversight of Kan-Care. If this report does not scare you by now, it should. The state is handing out billions of dollars a year to the three managed care companies and the state doesn’t have data reliable enough to determine whether the system is working or not? I can tell you from first-hand experience that it is not.

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