Government & Politics

Brownback calls federal denial of KanCare ‘parting shots’ from Obama administration

Sam Brownback calls federal KanCare review 'parting shots'

The Kansas governor has continued to stand by KanCare, the state's privatized Medicaid program, after a critical federal review.
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The Kansas governor has continued to stand by KanCare, the state's privatized Medicaid program, after a critical federal review.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said Tuesday that a recent denial to extend KanCare through 2018 represented “parting shots” from former President Barack Obama’s administration.

Brownback joined other Republicans and state officials who in the last week have fought back against a federal review critical of KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

“It seems to be pretty significant that they focus in and target us,” Brownback said of the federal government.

A report from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found that KanCare was failing to meet federal standards. It cited concerns with oversight and communication issues within the state’s program.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers have been critical of KanCare and the state’s response to the federal review in recent days.

Brownback said the state had “difficultly” with CMS.

He admitted that KanCare has had problems, including a backlog, but said the state is “working hard to get those dealt with.”

“These other things I think really are politically motivated,” Brownback said of the report.

State health officials told lawmakers on Monday that the federal review was done quickly and poorly.

“I’m looking forward to a new CMS director,” Brownback said of KanCare’s fate under the Trump administration. “I think things will be substantially different.”

But Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, said he didn’t think it was a given that a different president would make the extension process for KanCare any easier.

Hensley continued to defend CMS against Brownback’s criticism.

“It’s not that,” Hensley said of Brownback’s claim that the move was politically motivated. “That’s absolutely untrue because CMS’ record is very clear that they do things in a very deliberative, bipartisan way and they don’t pick (on) somebody just because they happen to be a Republican governor.”

Kansas has until Feb. 17 to submit a plan with corrective actions for the KanCare program.

Hunter Woodall: 785-354-1388, @HunterMw

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