Daily Archives: Dec. 16, 2013

Heed disability group’s concerns about KanCare

healthcaregovFederal officials should heed the concerns of the National Council on Disability about the privatization of long-term care for Kansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. NCD, which held hearings earlier this month in Topeka, sent a letter last week to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging it to delay privatization for a year. The letter raised concerns about the need for more collaboration with service providers and families of the developmentally disabled and about delayed payments with KanCare and possible service cuts. Long-term care for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities is scheduled to become part of KanCare starting Jan. 1, but CMS has yet to approve the waiver. Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, tried to dismiss NCD as an East Coast advisory committee that has “no authority.” NCD is an independent federal agency charged with advising the government on disability issues. CMS should listen to it.

Open thread (Dec. 16)

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Few districts interested in GOP education bill

schoolbusOnly eight Kansas school districts (none from Sedgwick County) applied to exempt themselves from certain regulations governing K-12 education, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. A new law approved this past session allowed up to 29 districts to apply for the exemption. Several of the districts that applied want to exempt themselves from teacher-licensing requirements. The law was dreamed up by GOP lawmakers with little input from state education officials, who also are excluded in its implementation (and are challenging the law’s constitutionality). According to the law, the first two waivers will be decided by Gov. Sam Brownback and the chairs of the House and Senate Education committees, and later applications will be reviewed by a board made up of representatives of the districts that have already received waivers, the Journal-World reported.

Wall Street Journal likes Pompeo’s stand on wind

turbinetractorA Wall Street Journal editorial arguing for expiration of the wind production tax credit included praise for the 4th District’s congressman. “One admirable exception to the Wind Belt political rule is Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo, who keeps reminding fellow Republicans that they claim to oppose corporate welfare,” the editorial board said, noting Pompeo had collected 52 House signatures on a letter arguing to end the tax credit. The editorial called the 20-year-old credit “so generous relative to the wholesale price of electricity that it is distorting energy investment.”