Weekly Rundown #36

Friday, November 22, 2019

Welcome to the KDP Weekly Rundown – the Kansas Democratic Party’s update of the biggest things going on in the state party and the state government. What are we focused on this week? Gov. Kelly’s D.C. meeting with trade officials, Medicaid work requirement warnings, and more!

KELLY MEETS TRADE OFFICIALS IN D.C.

  • What’s happening?

Gov. Laura Kelly discussed the ongoing tariff skirmish with China in a meeting with delegates from the Office of the United States Trade Representative in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 14, according to a Monday press release. Gov. Kelly further expressed her support for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, along with any additional actions her administration could take to improve trade relations to benefit Kansas farmers.

Gov. Laura Kelly: “While many factors are at play, our trade disputes with China have created additional hardships for Kansas farmers. I was encouraged to hear Ambassador Lighthizer state that he did not intend to ‘give up on China,’ and that efforts to resolve this dispute will continue.”

STATE HEALTH SECRETARY WARNS AGAINST MEDICAID WORK REQUIREMENTS

  • What’s happening?

Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Lee Norman warned legislators against imposing work requirements in any Medicaid expansion proposal.

Work requirements would significantly burden the state agency, Norman wrote. The additional rules would create an off-and-on coverage cycle for many Kansans, increase costs and uninsurance rates, and face the same legal roadblocks other states have hit when making similar attempts.

AETNA UPDATES OFFICIALS ON KANCARE MISHAPS

  • What’s happening?

Republican committee chairmen and Health and Environment Department officials on Tuesday heard Aetna Better Health executives reiterate their commitment to resolving the numerous problems the health insurance contractor’s grappled with in the state’s privatized Medicaid system. State officials appeared optimistic. Health care advocates and representatives from the state’s hospital industry voiced their continued concerns with the “incompetence” Aetna has demonstrated.

GOV. KELLY VISITS WITH LINCOLN STUDENTS AND HUTCHINSON CTE ACADEMY

  • What’s happening?

On Wednesday, Gov. Kelly spoke to Lincoln Elementary students and staff. As Kelly toured the school, employees described strategies they use to improve students’ chances for success. The elementary school is located in the legislative district that is the seventh-highest for students with nutrition assistance or food stamps. Three students from the Lincoln Leaders group discussed their thoughts on Medicaid and food nutrition.

Gov. Kelly then toured the Hutchinson Career and Technical Education Academy. Local legislators, educators and a dozen area businesses participated in a roundtable discussion with Kelly to talk about which issues to prioritize. The governor said she is focused on improving the state’s workforce to one that boosts the economy, targets military retirees, and helps reintegrate former prisoners.

Gov. Laura Kelly: “We need to get on the bases and posts and give them the certifications and qualifications so that when they separate from the service, they have somewhere to go in the state.”

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