The 2017 regular legislative session adjourned last Friday after swift passage of a rescission bill to plug the 2017 state budget on the previous evening. Though the rescission bill had broad bipartisan support in both chambers, much difficult work remains for the so-called "veto session" when the legislature returns in May to consider those items the Governor has vetoed, or not yet resolved during the regular session. Tax policy, a court-mandated school finance plan for K-12 schools and a future budget plan have yet to be crafted and begin the bumpy road towards passage.
Though the legislature aims to conclude its work within 90 calendar days, the likelihood of meeting that goal with just 14 days remaining, seems slim. The Supreme Court ruled that a school finance plan must pass the legislature and meet judicial approval by June 30 for schools to remain open in fall of 2017. Though legislators return to their home districts across the state for the next few weeks, the work of crafting solutions to these looming issues is sure to continue and await their return on May 1.
Before adjourning for the break, the legislature did resolve a number of health-related issues.
- Though House Bill 2044, Medicaid expansion, passed with strong majorities in both the House and Senate, the effort to override the Governor's veto fell three votes short making further advancement of this issue in the remaining window more difficult.
- House Bill 2027, addressing both the re-enactment of institutional licenses and allowing providers of direct primary care (i.e. concierge medicine/medical retainer agreement) to bill patients for anatomic pathology services so long as the provider and the cost of services is disclosed to the patient, passed both bodies and has been signed by the Governor.
- House Bill 2026, introduced at the request of provider groups (including KMS) is aimed to increase standardization, encourage uniform processes and to improve the appeals process for claims adjudication within the KanCare program. The bill saw major revisions agreed to in the conference committee between the House and Senate. The revisions were requested by KDHE to make the bill more workable upon implementation while still resolving provider concerns with the program. The bill passed both chambers and awaits the Governor's signature.
Though the bulk of health issues are resolved for the 2017 session, we will remain vigilant of the impact of legislation on providers and patients and the practice of medicine in Kansas. The legislative season is short, but our preparation for the consideration of lawmaking continues year round.