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It isn't often that Kansas gets to take a lap around the track as the clear #1 in the entire United States of states where the lack of insurance is on the increase.   There hasn't been a press release or a call to the podium in Topeka yet - though there is still time left tonight after the primary voting is done.   Kansas, it seems can lay claim to something unique - while other states decreased their uninsured, Kansas led the nation in increasing the rate of uninsured residents.

There you go.   Everyone else in the nation is moving to have more individuals insured, but Kansas tends is the leader - a true leader in ongoing efforts to increase the rate of uninsured within our state.

A bit unfair to claim that the state is the one helping to increase the rate of uninsured?  Read on.

The rate at which Huffington Post discusses at length is the rate at which individuals in the state have any insurance.   Of course, with medicaid expansion that number would change significantly.    That, however, doesn't mean that meddling within other policies has caused more Kansans to lose their insurance as it stands.

Beginning Jan. 1, Salina Regional Health Center will not accept Medicaid patients who receive their benefits through United Health Care, one of three providers in the state.

Tom Bell, executive director of governmental and public relations for the hospital, said the hospital has signed contracts for 2014 with the two other KanCare providers -- AmeriGroup and Sunflower Health Plan -- but couldn't come to terms with United.

"We tried to get the same terms we had with Sunflower and AmeriGroup, and we couldn't," Bell said. "There were technical aspects of reimbursements that we couldn't get together on. We've worked on getting a contract for most of this year."

Because the state is mailing out its annual enrollment packets to individuals starting today, allowing Medicaid recipients to pick among the three providers, Bell said the hospital is trying to spread the word that it won't accept United's plans in 2014.

That's right.  The state's managed program - called Kancare has been controversial enough in it's takeover and privatization of medicare spending that some hospitals have had to opt out of taking MEDICARE.  

But would this have other impacts on Kansas?  Of course.  Things got sticky with KanCare early as the participating groups began paying providers late - sometimes very late.

More than a dozen individuals and consumer organizations testified to the oversight committee regarding grievances or praise for KanCare.

"Prior to KanCare implementation," said Karen Hastert, of Newman Regional Hospital in Emporia, "our processes were efficient and effective. It is disappointing to have little to no control over an issue that is so significantly impacting productivity and cash collections."

Bob Finuf, vice president at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, said one in five patients at Children's Mercy were enrolled in Medicaid and the health care provider delivered $340 million annually in treatment to Medicaid consumers in Kansas.

He said the hospital's accounts receivable balances topping 90 days increased 130 percent under KanCare in 2013. Children's Mercy provided more services last year with an expectation of a 9 percent increase in payments, he said, but actual payments decreased 6 percent.

But don't worry of course.  Kansas knows that we're #1 in the uninsured and we're busy making more people who should be on some sort of supplemental insurance feel as though they have no insurance (or that their insurance that replaced Medicare is now not accepted in hospitals because it doesn't pay)

With compelling evidence in front of them, now would be the time for a switch in paths, right?

TOPEKA — The same groups that used the wedge issue of Obamacare to unseat moderate Republican senators two years ago are targeting several House members for defeat in Tuesday’s GOP primary.

But this time around, their efforts are being countered by groups that have organized to reverse the recent conservative tide in Kansas politics. The Kansas Values Institute and the Kansas Traditional Republican Majority are spending tens of thousands of dollars to defend moderate Republican Statehouse incumbents against charges that they failed to support conservative-led efforts to transfer control of federal health care programs to the state, block Medicaid expansion and repeal the state’s renewable energy standards.

The Kansas Chamber and the Koch Industries-backed group Americans for Prosperity are the main players in the effort, just as they were in 2012 when they succeeded in defeating Senate President Steve Morris and several other moderate GOP state senators. They are supporting Neil Melton, a Prairie Village banker, against Bollier; Jennifer Flood, a software consultant from Overland Park, against Clayton; Bob Fluke, chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party from Ottawa, against Finch; Stan Rice, a marketing director for a rural telephone and cable company who lives in Lakin, against Jennings; Jeremy Ryan Pierce, from Lawrence, against Sloan; and, Chad VanHouden, from Chanute, against Thompson.

“It’s not about advocating the election or defeat of certain candidates, it’s about getting our issues out,” said Jeff Glendening, director of AFP-Kansas. “That’s what we did back in 2012. We were able to get our issues out about why free markets work, why we need limited government in the state and why some of those people, like Senate President Steve Morris and others, weren’t supportive of limited government policies.”

The chamber’s political action committee has spent nearly $197,000 since January to support the legislative candidates it has endorsed, according to reports filed with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission. As a nonprofit educational organization, AFP isn’t required to file campaign finance reports, and Glendening declined to say how much the organization had spent in the primary

The Kochs, AfP and others have shown they are willing to spend a few hundred thousand dollars in a primary, and millions in a general to work to give Kansans a new slogan:

We're #1 at getting you Uninsured!

I'm sure the chant that goes along with it will sound better.

Originally posted to PostHuffPost: Connection-Conversation-Community on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 03:42 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kansas & Missouri Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle
    >Follow @tmservo433

    by Chris Reeves on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 03:42:27 PM PDT

  •  I was in the KS insurance pool for several years. (6+ / 0-)

    It was insanely expensive, but at least I had insurance while, I believe, in a number of states I wouldn't have had any insurance at all.

    The Kansas pool was cancelled when Obamacare took effect, though luckily around this time I was switching to Medicare and thus didn't have to deal with the transition.

    That said, even if we elect a Democrat as governor, the legislature is full of nuts to the extent that it makes the US House look like the sanest group ever.  We're Texas north, at best.

    I voted in today's primary, and it was refreshing to have a couple of ballot choices on the Democratic ticket.  I'm hoping that at least one of them might win, but I'm not optimistic.

  •  There are many wonderful parts to Kansas, the (3+ / 0-)

    sweep of the open plain with miles of wheat and sunflowers growing in August, the sun shimmering and dancing.  I met some KOS Kansans today and I decided that I will say some stuff about Kansas that is interesting, noteworthy and respectful.  For me that means  limiting focus on their governor.  

  •  Medicare and Medicaid are not the same thing. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StepLeftStepForward, kd4dean

    The articles you link to about the Salina hospital and Children's Mercy clearly state that they won't accept MEDICAID, the low-income insurance program, rather than MEDICARE, the strictly elderly and disabled insurance program run by the Federal Government (and pilfered from extensively by major insurance companies offering Medicare "Advantage" programs).

    It is very rare that someone who would be a patient at a children's hospital is on Medicare.

    An organ donor saved my life! Shop Kos Katalogue

    UID#39520 01/06/2005

    by Kitsap River on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 04:36:32 PM PDT

  •  KANSAS IS NOT #1. You read it wrong. (0+ / 0-)

    Texas is #1 with 24.0 % now uninsured.

    Kansas has 17.6 % now uninsured.

    see the actual report here [2nd page]

    You need to take this diary post down and rewrite it.

    •  No, you're looking at total, not increase (5+ / 0-)

      You're looking at the total # of uninsured, not the increase in uninsured.   The uninsured rate in Texas is still the highest, but it has decreased in the last year, whereas Kansas has increased.  

      I will edit to reflect this.

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle
      >Follow @tmservo433

      by Chris Reeves on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 04:57:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I went back and put the key sentence in bold (3+ / 0-)

      So that it stands out a bit more clear.   As we're talking about the rate of increase.

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle
      >Follow @tmservo433

      by Chris Reeves on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 04:59:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As the joyful recipient of an Obamacare (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433, kd4dean, CWinebrinner

    subsidy, I have health insurance for the first time ever in the United States! And it's affordable for me, too! So far, so good. I've used it to see my new primary doctor, a fantastic chiropractor and a physical therapist. One of the main reasons I feel like I can keep living in this country for now. If it hadn't passed, I would probably be back in Europe again right now.

    Unfortunately, I have friends - artists, musicians, single moms - who weren't so lucky. Sam Brownback & Co's refusal to expand Medicaid doomed them. Under the KS system, they supposedly make too much for Medicaid and too little for a subsidy. These people make around $10k/year. It boils my blood that they have no access to affordable care.

    I will add that my sister is still paying off a huge medical bill from an accident that required emergency services when she was unemployed and her COBRA had run out. If Obamacare had been fully implemented in 2012, she would not be considering bankruptcy right now. At least she has affordable insurance now, thanks to her Obamacare subsidy. Provided we can keep Republicans out of power, millions like us across the nation will no longer financial devastation due to medical bills, and the truly poor among us will be covered by Medicaid for as long as they need it.

    That graph is amazing - thanks so much for sharing. I knew it was bad here. How shameful we are!

    This seems like a good time to plug Dennis Anderson for KS Insurance Commissioner. We need to continue the tradition of sound regulation and practices in that industry, and not let some radical Republican grab that office. Go Dems!

  •  You know what, I give up on Daily Kos (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Everyone is so FUCKING eager to straight out make shit up about Kansas. It used to be only outsiders, whereas now...

    Rename Daily Kos to Dump on KS for all I care. Random characters going into my DKos password field so I can't possibly sign in again. If anyone tries to contact me in any way I will give $1000 to Brownback. Vaya con diablos.

    •  You're being silly (5+ / 0-)

      You caught an error in the title, which I agreed with and corrected.

      The statistical data pointed out by Gallup and Huffington Post is that Kansas has worked to create uninsured at a faster rate than anyone else in the country.   While uninsured rates elsewhere in the country have been on the decrease, Kansas has been on the increase - one of only 3 states where that is true, and Kansas leads that group by a wide margin.

      This isn't 'making things up' it is a statistical fact, as noted by numerous groups, from KHI, Huffington Post, Gallup and others.  

      There was an error in my title which incorrectly inferred that Kansas had the most uninsured.  I corrected this error, and I put in bold the comment that explained this diary was about the increase in uninsured - which we are number one.

      Which should have satisfied both of your concerns.  

      Instead, you have decided that because you either don't like the take on the article or you dislike the statistic or I'm not sure what, you will infer that all of the sources used are in fact, false.... when you also look through the same document as I do and so you know what it says.

      I'm sorry you've decided to leave and that your interest in helping Kansas is such that disagreement over data interpretation will lead you to threaten to donate to Brownback, but I guess at that point, you weren't really here much for the effort anyway.

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle
      >Follow @tmservo433

      by Chris Reeves on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 05:10:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Are you NUTS? (5+ / 0-)

      Why are you so agitated?

      The diarist has been working extra shifts to change things in Kansas AND writing extensively about the state to boot, for months, nothing written here has any relationship to your accusations.

      It isn't our fault that Kansas registers very high on the Deranged Nutcase Meter, TMServo is trying very hard to show how the whole place isnt a Nutter's Paradise and that it's a worthwhile enterprise to work at changing the politics of the place with hard work and smart interaction with people.

      I've been enjoying the diaries about KS and I've regarded them as hopeful and upbeat.

      You ought to count to ten, then go look at TMServo's other diaries, and figger out a way to help out rather than throw pies and threaten to leave in a huff. (Or you could leave in a minute-and-a-huff. Better yet leave in a Ford. You shouldn't stand there they're liable to put up an apartment building....)

      "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

      by leftykook on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 07:29:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Which Koch Brother are you, kansaster? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Charles or David

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