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Legislative Update Week Six

On Tuesday, the Federal and State Affairs Committee heard testimony on House Bill 2553, which would adopt the Interstate Health Care Compact in the state of Kansas.  This compact would take effect upon its adoption by at least two member states, one being Kansas, and the consent of the United States Congress.  The fundamental purpose of this compact would be to secure the right of the member states to regulate health care in the respective boundaries and to suspend the operation of any conflicting Federal laws, rules, regulations and orders, case in point the Affordable Care Act.  As part of this compact, the state of Kansas would still be able to secure funding from the Federal government even though Kansas will invoke their authority under the compact.

This compact would establish the Interstate Advisory Health Care Commission, and each state in the compact would appoint no more than two members, each member having one vote.  The commission could not proceed with actions unless approved by a majority of the commission’s total membership.  This commission would meet at least once each year, although there is no maximum number of meetings that can be held.  The commission would make non-binding recommendations to the member states for their legislatures to consider.

If the member states were to adopt the Interstate Health Care Compact and the United States Congress agrees, Kansas would continue to receive federal dollars and the Medicaid program expenditures could change.

KanCare was launched in January of 2013 as a major reform of the state’s Medicaid system.  It was created to improve health outcomes for consumers and be more efficient with taxpayer dollars.  Together, the three managed care organizations (MCO) have provided more than $6 million in services that were unavailable under the old Medicaid system.

 

Examples of these services include: $1.13 million dollars to provide over 12,842 Kansans with adult dental services; $2.21 million dollars to provide 131,024 Kansans with member incentive programs to encourage healthy and preventative behaviors, and $1.23 million dollars to provide 39 Kansans with life-saving operations, such as bariatric surgery, heart or lung transplant.

 

On average per month in FY 2013, 8,600 Kansans received Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Intellectual/Developmental Disability (I/DD) waiver services.  As of now, 3,141 people are currently waiting for these services.  In that same year, 5,505 Kansans received HCBS Physically Disabled (PD) waiver services on average, per month.  It is estimated that 2,000 people are currently waiting for these services.

In the decade leading up to KanCare, the annual rate of Medicaid cost increase was 7.5%.  The current projected growth rate has dropped under KanCare to 5.2%.

The current estimates for KanCare are better than had been originally projected.  As a result, a portion of those dividends have increased access to services for more than 700 Kansans with physical and developmental disabilities, such as: 60 individuals have been taken off the PD waiting list; 244 individuals have recently been taken off the I/DD waiting list, and additional money is being used to help pay for "underserved waiting list" services.

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies announced open enrollment deadlines for land owners to sign up for participation in the lesser prairie chicken conservation program.  Participation in the program makes landowners eligible for payments of up to 125% of the cost of implementing the plan.  The program will be open to landowners in certain areas designated as conservation zones.  The program will be used to address concerns by US Fish and Wildlife.

On Sunday, February 16, the House and Senate chambers were full of 4-Hers participating in Citizenship in Action.  They held session, debated, and voted on bills.  This program for 4-Hers is designed to teach them how the state legislative process works and how their voice and participation in decision-making can make a difference in their communities.

Kayanna Hammeke and Katelyn Reh from Ellinwood served as pages on Monday, February 17.  Also on that day, Christina Fowler was invited to be the House and Senate Chaplain and she gave the opening prayer at each session. 

On a personal note, I was honored on Wednesday, February 19, to be elected by my colleagues as chairman of the House Rural Caucus for the 2014 Legislative Session.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact my office at (785) 296-7672 or email me at troy.waymaster@house.ks.gov.  It is an honor to serve the 109th Kansas House District and the state of Kansas. Once again, do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, concerns and questions.  I appreciate the perspectives from the residents of the 109th House District and others from the state of Kansas.


Paid for by Troy Waymaster for 109th Kansas House, James Malone, Treasurer
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