Mistakes continue to happen in a frantic atmosphere focused on budget cuts and reducing the size of government in Kansas. The people who can least afford it keep getting hurt.
The latest outrage is Kansas’ Medicaid application backlog.
Instead of being lowered to 3,480 people as recently claimed by the state, corrected reports show the backlog actually has more than quadrupled to 15,393. Of that number, 10,961 applicants have waited more than 45 days for the state to process their applications.
That is inexcusable.
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KanCare is Kansas’ privatized Medicaid program for low-income, disabled or frail elderly state residents. Susan Mosier, secretary of the state Department of Health and Environment, said in a June 10 letter to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that a company contracted by the state to handle the backlog caused the inaccuracy.
But where was the oversight from Mosier and other state officials?
Added to the problem, eligibility officials report a rise in the number of people being incorrectly denied Medicaid.
Also, Kansas foolishly continues to pass up Medicaid expansion, which would give about 150,000 low-income state residents health insurance coverage.
Concern over the size of the state’s backlog caused the federal government to wisely require biweekly reports from Kansas.
Mosier explained that the contractor has made the “necessary corrections,” including “authorization of overtime for both state staff and contractor staff” with continued assistance in processing applications from the Department for Children and Families.
Doing the job right to effectively reduce the backlog and benefit Kansans who deserve services is sure to be more expensive. But that’s the cost of doing the job right, and there should be no excuses.