A new year bring possibly new changes to Medicaid. And families who count on Medicaid for loved ones with developmental disabilities are concerned about what the changes could mean. That's why they're holding a meeting Saturday to ask questions.
Jacque Clifton's 17-year-old son Austin is intellectually and physically disabled."My son has to work so hard." Says Clfton. "There is nothing he does that is just automatic."
Medicaid pays for the extensive care Austin needs. The Clfton's gathered at meeting today with other families in similar situations. They came to find out more about the plan to privatize Kansas Medicaid, slated to take effect next year.
Many at the meeting say the changes are happening to quickly for something so important.
"Our kids have a lot of needs and we've spent many years trying to get them the best care," says Clifton. "To do a big change like the governor is proposing in one to one and a half years is just frightening."
But the Brownback administration says the changes need to take place to keep medicaid costs from spiraling out of control.
The state plans to have three insurance companies manage medicaid and compete against each other for customers. Their profits will depend upon them meeting state goals for improving the lives of the disabled. The plan doesn't cut funding, but does limit future spending increases.
Without the change the governor's office says medicaid costs would nearly double over the next ten years.
Clifton says there are too many unknowns and at the very least the change should be delayed until more studies are done. She fears insurance companies will find ways to maximize profit and minimize care for nearly 400,000 of the most vulnerable Kansans.