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Op-Ed: Kansas should cut ties with KanCare call center contractor

Jeremy Mohler |   Kansas City Star    |    Sept. 18, 2019

On a frozen January evening in 2016, then-Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback bragged to a packed state capital building that his administration was providing “economic opportunity instead of government dependency.” He wasn’t referring to his notorious tax cuts, which had by that time blown a $170 million hole in the state budget. He spoke at length instead about his Medicaid reforms, including privatization under KanCare, which he called “innovation and modernization.”

We now know that, like many privatized state Medicaid programs, KanCare is far from innovative and modern. Independent auditors say there’s no way to know whether it’s effective because data on patient outcomes is so hard to come by. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is currently threatening to drop one of the program’s three contracted health insurers over ongoing billing issues. Application delays were once so long that the state had to submit to federal monitoring.

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