Kansas' about-face on $31.5M 'innovator' grant criticized as political

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback cited federal budget uncertainties in returning a $31.5 million "Early Innovator" grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week. It was the second time in four months a state said it would return an "Early Innovator" grant; Oklahoma, in April, announced it would return a $54 million grant, as well. The grant money would have gone toward helping those states develop an IT infrastructure to ultimately create a health information exchange. "Every state should be preparing for fewer federal resources, not more," Brownback said in a statement. "To deal with that reality, Kansas needs to maintain maximum flexibility." Both Wichita Eagle editorialist Rhonda Holman and Richard Fry, founder of the November Patriots--an advocacy group that opposes health reform--criticized the move as being politically motivated.

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