Another prominent member of Gov. Sam Brownback’s Cabinet is stepping down.
Susan Mosier, the secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, will leave her role early in January, Brownback’s office said Thursday.
“It has been my great privilege to serve the people of Kansas,” Mosier said in a statement. She thanked Brownback for the opportunity “to lead an amazing team of passionate, dedicated professionals.”
The announcement noted that Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer will name her replacement. Though Brownback is still the governor, Colyer has taken on more responsibilities as Brownback attempts to leave for a job in President Donald Trump’s administration.
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Mosier, whose last day will be Jan. 5, oversaw the state’s privatized Medicaid program, KanCare. During her time in the role, Kansas experienced a backlog of unprocessed Medicaid applications that prompted federal intervention. At one point, tens of thousands of applications were waiting for attention.
“I think it’s a time for a change, with the new KanCare 2.0 or whatever, that we get new leadership,” said Rep. John Barker, an Abilene Republican.
Earlier this year, Mosier was on the defense after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said KanCare was out of compliance with federal standards and emphasized that a lack of oversight and communication issues might put KanCare patients at risk.
Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat who clashed with Mosier, gave a brief comment about her upcoming departure.
“While I wish Dr. Mosier success in her future endeavors, I wish she would have made this decision quite some time ago, to give her replacement time enough to turn somethings around,” Kelly said.
Mosier was one of the public faces of the Brownback administration’s opposition to expanding Medicaid. A bill expanding KanCare was passed by both the House and Senate earlier this year. But supporters were unable to override a veto from Brownback to force the measure into law.
David Jordan, executive director of the pro-expansion group Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, said Mosier’s departure leaves an opportunity for the administration to work with stakeholders to develop a better approach for helping with access to care.
“Secretary Mosier, like the rest of the administration, put up barriers to expanding access to care and argued against the evidence that was overwhelmingly in support of expanding KanCare,” he said.
Mosier was appointed secretary in 2014, after working as the state Medicaid director and serving in the Kansas House.
“Dr. Mosier has dedicated her time tirelessly to serve the people of Kansas over the past six years, and I am proud to have had her as a part of my team, serving Kansans,” Brownback said in a statement. “Dr. Mosier has worked effectively for Kansas’ most vulnerable citizens.”
Asked about Mosier’s departure, Rep. Susan Concannon, a Beloit Republican who supported Medicaid expansion, said change is difficult but sometimes good.
“I guess I look forward to a fresh start with a new governor this session, and it looks like a couple of new secretaries,” she said.
The Wichita Eagle’s Jonathan Shorman contributed to this report.