Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer certainly is raising expectations — and the stakes — for his Medicaid reform proposal, which is expected later this month. Colyer said in meetings over the summer that he plans to cut $200 million to $400 million from the program, which covers 330,000 Kansans and costs $2.8 billion a year. Then last week he told Associated Press that his plan would cut the state’s nursing home population and reorganize agencies without narrowing eligibility to reduce the numbers of Kansans covered, and that any payment reduction to health care providers would be “a last resort.” He said: “We are not going to cut people off of Medicaid. Secondly, we are not looking at giant across-the-board rate cuts.” That certainly limits Colyer’s options for how to lower the costs of a program whose enrollment is 12 percent higher than it was a year ago. If he can do what he says he can do, he’ll deserve praise from Kansas taxpayers and Medicaid patients alike.
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