March 19, 2012 Legislative Update

March 19, 2012
Your Monday Morning Update:
My on my, what a week it was in Kansas! Sorry I missed it.
Because I was missing in action, I’ve relied on you to keep me informed about happenings.  Here are your tidbits:
Over 450 Advocates showed up to the Not Worth the Gamble rally in Topeka last Tuesday, packing the statehouse with a sea of red shirts.  As it stands right now, the waves haven’t been parted because KanCare is alive and well.  We are still waiting for the miracle of defeat.
Wendell Potter (an “ex” of the insurance world who is now an outspoken critic of America’s health insurance industry) spoke to the crowd as well as had the opportunity to address the Senate’s Public Health and Welfare committee. Key points they offered were:

  • The highest paid CEO’s in the U.S. are those of insurance companies
  • KanCare should be a concern to all taxpayers, not just those of us in the system
  • Insurance companies only care about making money and rewarding stakeholders
  • When describing the companies vying to be included in KanCare, descriptors like “civil penalty”, “criminal complaints”, “class action lawsuits” and “allegations from the Securities and Exchange Commission” were tossed about
  • Closing remarks were “fight hard, don’t let this happen”.
The Lieutenant Governor held an open meeting that same afternoon in his conference room for any “red shirt” that might be interested in dropping by.  Dr. Colyer was nowhere to be seen however. When folks asked questions to representatives who were there, the answer always seem to be “we are not targeting the DD community for cost savings, the insurance compensation will be sourced from improved health outcomes”.  Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!
Wednesday, the House Health and Human Services committee held a hearing on HB 2457 which would exempt DD waiver programs from KanCare.

  • Several parents from Johnson County eloquently addressed the committee and shared their concerns
  • Professionals from around the state (including JCDS executive director, Maury Thompson) presented

  • Jim Coopersmith spoke not only as a parent but as a professional in the insurance industry.  Jim had graphs and documentation on the inadequacies of insurance companies.  He supplied data on the five applicants and along with their financial ratings. One company ranked “Secure-Good” one “Vulnerable-Adequate “and three “Vulnerable- Questionable/Lowest”. I’ve been told that Jim’s testimony really got the committee’s attention.  I would love to have seen those eyebrows arch!
The following day, the House Health and Human Services committee heard from the other side…the administration.

  • Same old testimony, just another day
  • The administration didn’t address Jim’s testimony (proving that ignorance is bliss)
  • The committee did ask the administration questions about Jim’s data.  They were unable to answer.
Your TO DO list:

  1. The Legislature takes a break at the end of March and will be back home in our community.  Now is the time to start checking out their websites for town halls or forums which they typically hold during this “downtime”.   Find out when and where these will be held. Jot them down on your calendar and plan to attend.
  2.…you know what to do!
Decision time is just around the corner, so we need to turn the heat up.  I have heard that there has been no other group that has ever caused the ruckus we have, but we need to remember that we’re not done!  We still have to part that sea…
Warm regards,
Lurena Mead
JCDS Community Relations Manager
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