Opinion: Privatization proposal is sketchy

Source: Michael A. Smith, Hutchinson News, May 19, 2013

Should Kansas privatize services for the intellectually and developmentally disabled (ID/DD) population? The issue brought a lot of heat this past week. On one side are the members of the Kansas House Appropriations Committee. Like the Brownback administration, they are eager to include these expensive services in the state’s new, contract-based approach to Medicaid. This past week, House Appropriations leaders announced that no money would be appropriated to reduce the long waiting lists for ID/DD assistance, until privatization is approved. Committee members believe they are tying cost savings to a shorter wait for services. Opponents call it extortion. The proposal is rather sketchy. Generally, the Brownback administration and their House allies seek to replace the current approach, which relies on state employees along with not-for-profits paid by the state. Their new system would rely on insurance companies to manage the cases and subcontract the services….