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Legislature ends Day 95 without budget accord

Some progress made but final deal high-centered over tax differences

By Mike Shields
KHI News Service
Originally published May 16, 2012 at 6:41 p.m., updated May 17, 2012 at 6:46 a.m.

Among the things tentatively agreed to on Wednesday:

The House agreed to drop its budget proviso that would have barred the Kansas Insurance Department from spending federal grant dollars associated with the Affordable Care Act, which Kansas, along with 25 other states, is challenging in the U.S. Supreme Court. The department had about $800,000 of a $1.9 million grant remaining as of April 18, according to legislative staffers.

Negotiators agreed to spend $3.6 million in the coming fiscal year to help reduce waiting lists for home and community based Medicaid services for the disabled; $1.8 million would be earmarked for the physically disabled and $1.8 million would be for the developmentally disabled.

They also agreed on provisions that would delay the inclusion of long-term services for the developmentally disabled in KanCare, the governor's plan for remaking the state Medicaid program. The bill would postpone the inclusion until one year after the launch of KanCare regardless when the program starts. But it also would allow for sooner changes in the ways the need for services are assessed. Those changes could begin with introduction of the KanCare program, which still needs federal approvals to be launched. The administration aims to begin KanCare on Jan. 1, 2013.

The budget teams agreed to meet again at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday. The tax teams had not yet scheduled their next meeting when both chambers adjourned for the day.