Praeger seeks quick insurance exchange answer from governor

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger. by Phil Cauthon

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger said today that she wants to meet this week with Gov. Sam Brownback about how to move forward with implementation of the federal health reform law.

Specifically, Praeger said she wants to talk to Brownback about the state partnering with the federal government on a health insurance purchasing exchange. Kansas no longer has the option of designing its own online insurance marketplace but it can still partner on one with federal officials, if it acts quickly, she said.

Praeger said partnering with the federal government on an exchange would allow the state to maintain its authority to review and license insurance plans.

Praeger, a moderate Republican who supports the reform law, said she must let federal officials know by Friday, Nov. 16 whether the state intends to partner on an exchange. But she said she needs the governor’s blessing on that and a grant application her department has prepared, which must be submitted by Thursday, Nov. 15.

“The governor needs to agree that he won’t oppose us applying for the grant,” Praeger said. “He doesn’t have to give tacit approval necessarily, but just indicate it’s OK if we want to move forward on this.”

Brownback, a conservative Republican, voted against the Affordable Care Act as a member of the U.S. Senate and as governor has tried to block its implementation pending the outcome of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the law and then later the outcome of the presidential race.

Brownback in August 2011 rejected a $31.5 million federal grant intended to help Kansas develop an exchange as part of a program to develop models for other states to use.

Praeger said President Obama’s re-election means that the reform law won’t be repealed. It also means that states that have been slow to act will have to play catch up to meet approaching implementation deadlines.

Under the law, each state is to have an exchange operational by Jan. 2014.

“It’s time to stop resisting,” Praeger said.

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Tagged: obama, obamacare, act, aca, brownback, praeger, affordable, insurance, health, exchange, care, reform


lucky_guy 5 years, 5 months ago

Toe is out of it. Too much election hangover. The Gov wants the Feds to take over because 1. If the exchange gets broken he can blame the Feds and not his own incompetence 2. Brownie thinks it will be cheaper for the Feds to create the exchange. Brownie is not the least bit interested in Kansas healthcare, as seen by his refusal to increase medicaid spending even if the Feds pay for most of it. Also the current Medicaid restructure will be a total fail just like it was in Kentucky. No, Brownie will pray for us Kansans, it is all we have left.

KS 5 years, 5 months ago

I think he already has. Per the KCStar, Brownback says no. Same for Jay Nixon, a Democrat for Missouri.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

WE can help reduce stress for Sandy Praeger and our reduce our own cost of living not to mention cut the cost of government substantially.

Single-payer national health insurance is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health financing, but delivery of care remains largely private.

Currently, the U.S. health care system is outrageously expensive, yet inadequate. Despite spending more than twice as much as the rest of the industrialized nations ($8,160 per capita), the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunization rates. Moreover, the other advanced nations provide comprehensive coverage to their entire populations, while the U.S. leaves 51 million completely uninsured and millions more inadequately covered.

The reason we spend more and get less than the rest of the world is because we have a patchwork system of for-profit payers. Private insurers necessarily waste health dollars on things that have nothing to do with care: overhead, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing departments as well as huge profits and exorbitant executive pay. Doctors and hospitals must maintain costly administrative staffs to deal with the bureaucracy. Combined, this needless administration consumes one-third (31 percent) of Americans’ health dollars.

Single-payer financing is the only way to recapture this wasted money. The potential savings on paperwork, more than $400 billion per year, are enough to provide comprehensive coverage to everyone without paying any more than we already do.

Under a single-payer system, all Americans would be covered for all medically necessary services, including: doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs. Patients would regain free choice of doctor and hospital, and doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.

Physicians would be paid fee-for-service according to a negotiated formulary or receive salary from a hospital or nonprofit HMO / group practice. Hospitals would receive a global budget for operating expenses. Health facilities and expensive equipment purchases would be managed by regional health planning boards.

A single-payer system would be financed by eliminating private insurers and recapturing their administrative waste. Modest new taxes would replace premiums and out-of-pocket payments currently paid by individuals and business. Costs would be controlled through negotiated fees, global budgeting and bulk purchasing.

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