Now two weeks into the Legislative session, it is clear that legislators are focused on a limited number of mitigating factors and issues that will dominate the 2018 session. First and foremost, the Supreme Court’s ruling that legislators must provide additional funds for K-12 schools and need to develop a new formula for adequately and equitability funding education. The ruling requires a solution before first adjournment in April and further stresses appropriators tasked with allocating state resources for other essential government services. Though revenue estimates are increasingly better than in recent years due to the tax package passed in 2017, questions remain about how to satisfy the Court’s ruling and balance other funding obligations. Legislators must comply with the Court ruling or amend the constitution ambiguity around the definition of “suitability” of education funding. The looming transition of Governor Brownback also adds of layer of uncertainty as policymakers work to craft solutions that will be signed in to law.
The weight of those issues alone has already suppressed legislative energy and activity, resulting in very few bill introductions up to this point. The Senate and House Health Committees have held informational hearings and have continued to review the efficacy of the Medicaid Managed Care program, KanCare, prior to new contracts being sought in 2019. There is growing concern that the program has failed to operate consistently and predictably for patients or providers and that these problems need to be addressed before new contracts are proposed and implemented. SB 300 was introduced at the end of the week, requiring legislative oversight and consent before KanCare is extended with future contracts. The bill has not yet been scheduled for hearings.
Though new issues have been slow to emerge, the KMS Legislative Committee meets regularly to review and respond to proposals affecting the practice of medicine and to ensure consistent legislative positions that promote high quality care delivered by a physician-led team. Bills that KMS is actively engaged in advocating for or against can be found here. Regardless of the number of bills or issues proposed, KMS is under the dome advocating for you and your patients, every day.