Future of state Medicaid privatization doubted

Former insurance insider Wendell Potter has turned his critical eye on Kansas, where Gov. Sam Brownback is planning to privatize the state's Medicaid program.

Potter, who previously worked as a public relations spokesman for Cigna and Humana, told a Kansas Senate committee Tuesday that lawmakers should be concerned about the planned transition, reported the Associated Press.

Five insurers--UnitedHealth, Coventry, WellCare, Sunflower State Health Plan and Amerigroup--have submitted bids for three available private Medicaid contracts, which are scheduled to begin next January.

However, Potter urged Kansas lawmakers to determine whether those insurers can implement the Medicaid plan sufficiently, the percentage of revenue they invest back into claims and how satisfied their members are. He also recommended that legislators determine why the state's largest insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, declined to submit a bid to operate a private Medicaid plan, noted the Topeka Capital-Journal.  

Potter isn't the only one voicing concerns over the Medicaid privatization plan. The Kansas state House and Senate are considering resolutions to delay the Medicaid contracts by six months.

What's more, a report from the Kansas Health Institute found that Brownback's plan is one of the most far-reaching attempts to revamp Medicaid. The report also doubts whether Brownback will receive the necessary federal approval for his reforms to go into effect, according to the Wichita Business Journal.

To learn more:
- see the Topeka Capital-Journal article
- read the Wichita Business Journal article
- check out the Associated Press article