Health Reform

2005 – Kansas legislature established the Kansas Health Policy Authority (KHPA) as an agency in the executive branch of state government. Part of its charge is to, “develop and maintain a coordinated health policy agenda that combines effective purchasing and administration of health care with health promotion oriented public health strategies. The powers, duties and functions of the KHPA are intended to be exercised to improve the health of the people of Kansas by increasing the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of health services and public health programs.” (K.S.A. 75-7401, et seq.)

2006 – KHPA officially took charge of administering medical programs within Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the State Employee Health Benefits Plan, and Medi-Kan.

2007 – Kansas Legislature adopts Senate Bill 11, directing KHPA to examine various Medicaid reform issues as it develops a statewide health reform agenda. Those issues included: the experience of other states; long term care; waste, fraud and abuse; health opportunity accounts; tax credits; vouchers; and premium assistance. The bill also established a premium assistance program in Kansas that was intended to subsidize the purchase of private insurance for low-income individuals who were not eligible for Medicaid.

2007 - KHPA Board formally adopted its first comprehensive statewide health reform agenda. The package included 21 proposals that included funding and implementation of the premium assistance program. The reforms centered around three priorities: promoting personal responsibility; prevention and the “medical home” model of health care delivery; and providing and protecting affordable health insurance. Initiatives would be funded by an increase in state tobacco taxes.

2008 – Kansas Legislature considered the KHPA package, accepting some recommendations, rejecting others, and adding new provisions that had not been part of KHPA’s proposals. The bill (S.B. 81) includes language abolishing the premium assistance program and, instead, authorizing expansion of SCHIP up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level, contingent on additional federal funds becoming available.

2008 – KHPA Board adopts a revised health reform agenda with three areas of emphasis: passage of a statewide Clean Indoor Air Law; increasing the state tobacco tax; and using revenue from the tax to fund expansion of Medicaid for all parents and caregivers up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level. Additional proposals call for expanding early detection cancer screenings; making health insurance affordable to young adults and small businesses; and expanding health-promotion initiatives in public schools.

2009 – Congress passes a bill to reauthorize and expand SCHIP, making federal money available to implement the SCHIP provisions of S.B. 81 from 2008 session.