State: Social Service Costs Lower than Expected

colyer jeff ks lt govKansas officials have lowered their estimates for what they expect Medicaid and other social services to cost the state through the middle of next year.
Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said Friday the new figures show that there is a “dividend” from the state’s overhaul of Medicaid.
The new projections cover about $1 billion in state spending on social services each during the current fiscal year and the one beginning in July.
The new figure for the current fiscal year is almost $38 million lower than the previous estimate. The figure for the next fiscal year is about $25 million lower than previous total.
The state turned its Medicaid program the needy over to three private health insurance companies this year, promising it would lower costs and improve health coverage.

  • bluekansas

    Privatizing public services always – ALWAYS – costs more for worse service. And in Kentucky it’s destroying jobs by killing small businesses.

    Kentucky legislators are threatening to subpoena three managed care companies after the state’s 550 small pharmacies complained that they’re being pushed out of business by the companies’ low Medicaid reimbursements.

    The situation is bad enough that the Kentucky Medical Association says some doctors have discussed taking out short-term loans to offset delays in claims reimbursement from the companies.

    Independent pharmacists have been among the most vocal critics because of the complicated pricing formula the managed care industry uses to pay for prescription drugs.

    “This has hurt a lot of Main Street pharmacies,” said Rosemary Smith, who operates eight Eastern Kentucky pharmacies with her husband, Luther. “We are the fabric of the economy in these small communities, and they are killing us.”

    The managed care system was implemented Nov. 1 by Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration as a cost-saving measure.

  • bluekansas

    Insurance gaps Analysis of uninsured in Kansas shows need for Medicaid expansion

    A just-released Kansas Health Institute analysis of Kansas’ uninsured population appears to buttress arguments both for expanding state Medicaid coverage for low-income Kansans and for the health insurance mandate that is the core of the controversial Affordable Care Act – a.k.a. “Obamacare.”

    Not surprisingly, the analysis shows, Kansans with low incomes are more likely not to have health insurance. However, the surprise in the report is that more than two-thirds of Kansas families without health insurance are not classified as poor by federal standards.

    The federal poverty level probably is the source of some of the seeming contradiction. Set at just $22,000 a year for a family of four, it wouldn’t be any wonder that even above that many families wouldn’t be able to afford health insurance – unless they are working, in which case presumably affordable health insurance would be available from the employer.

    While most would agree the federal poverty level is set extremely low, they might also be surprised to know that eligibility for Medicaid in Kansas is set well below that. Parents in families must make below 32 percent of the federal poverty level – about $7,000 a year for a family of four – to get on Medicaid. And childless adults don’t qualify at all unless they are disabled.

    Given that, it seems extreme that so many legislators and Gov. Sam Brownback are balking at raising Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty level – about $30,000 a year for a family of four – a move that would expand coverage to 315,000 low-income Kansans, according to the KHI report. The federal government would pay for most of the cost of the expansion, but the governor and legislators are considering denying the federal money for this, primarily out of political spite for “Obamacare.”

    That would be a huge disservice to low-income Kansans. Moreover, the KHI data paints a picture of a health insurance coverage problem that needs to be fixed. Insuring more low-income people is one fix. The other is the mandate that all Americans have health insurance, much in the way that all licensed auto drivers be insured.

    Not all of the uninsured are poverty-stricken. Many are just people who don’t want to pay for health insurance, even if they can afford it.

    A big reason may be they aren’t worried about serious health problems. The KHI analysis shows that people who are uninsured are more likely young – aged 19 to 44 – which may suggest relative healthiness. But obesity and its companion health factors know no age restriction.

    And, the study found, the rate of uninsured is high among the Hispanic population.

    The individual mandate would address pockets of the uninsured population that aren’t covered because of affordability.

    Those who aren’t covered by employer health-care plans may work only part time or for a small company that doesn’t offer health insurance. So that’s where the health insurance exchange comes into play – a place where people can shop for health insurance plans.

    But despite the logic of that, Brownback – once again, out of political spite – declined the opportunity for Kansas to fashion its own exchange.

    The KHI report breaks down the pattern of gaps in health insurance coverage. State leaders can’t simply be against the solutions in the Affordable Care Act that are designed to close those gaps. If they are going to turn away from the federal solutions, they need to have alternatives of their own.

    By John D. Montgomery/Hutchinson News editorial board


    Well I can see it going down, kick more people of state welfare and cost will go down