Kansas Pulls Controversial Medicaid Waiver Request

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By Victoria Pelham

Kansas withdrew a Medicaid proposal Jan. 24 that would have required adult beneficiaries to work.

Gov. Sam Brownback (R) and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer scrapped the state’s KanCare 2.0 request amid lawmakers’ price tag fears, according to a governor’s office spokesman, Bob Murray. The leaders will instead focus on coordinating with lawmakers to improve the existing KanCare Medicaid program.

But a work requirement is “still on the table,” Murray told Bloomberg Law in an email.

The move came a day after Mississippi joined a growing chorus of states that have asked to tie Medicaid eligibility to employment, job training, or community engagement (such as volunteering) initiatives. They include Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In its first approval of this kind, the CMS gave the go-ahead to Kentucky earlier in January.

The Trump administration is backing Section 1115 waivers implementing the restrictions, suggesting that work is tied to better health outcomes and could lead to self-sufficiency. But critics have filed suit against the Kentucky waiver and say the requirements jeopardize care and violate the objective of the safety-net health insurance program.

Kansas’s request also would have aimed to boost care coordination through a new managed care provision and new covered services, as well as addressing social determinants of health and independence, according to the state Department of Health and Environment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Pelham in Washington at vpelham@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brian Broderick at bbroderick@bloomberglaw.com

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