KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Kansas Rejects Health Law Exchange Grant

Kansas will send back its $31.5 million Early Innovator Grant to the Department of Health and Human Services, which would have helped pay for the development of the state's online insurance exchange. Gov. Sam Brownback said he was returning the money because of doubts that the federal government would be able to maintain its promised future payments.

Politico: Kansas Returns $31.5M Exchange Grant
Kansas is returning a $31.5 million grant to lead the way on exchange development, marking one of the largest rejections of federal money to implement a piece of health reform. Kansas will send back to HHS an Early Innovator Grant it was awarded in February to build technology infrastructure for the exchanges that other states could use as a model (Millman and Nocera, 8/9).

McClatchy/The Wichita Eagle: Kansas Gov. Brownback Rejects Federal Health Care Grant
Citing the federal government's debt obligations, Gov. Sam Brownback said Tuesday he will return a $31.5 million federal grant intended to help implement the new federal health care law. Kansas had applied for the money last December as part of its effort to integrate the state's complicated health insurance databases and policy networks into a user-friendly system. The "early innovator" grant, awarded to Kansas and six other states in February, would have helped pay for an online exchange system where people could compare health insurance policies and buy one that best fit their needs (Wistrom, 8/10).

Kansas Health Institute News: Kansas Rejects $31.5 Million For Insurance Exchange
The grant being returned was awarded to the Kansas Insurance Department in February. Since then, Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger had been working with groups of stakeholders - including health care providers, insurers and businesses - to design a Kansas exchange, a Web-based system through which thousands of Kansans and small businesses are expected to purchase private coverage starting in 2014. If Kansas decides not to establish its own exchange, the law requires the federal government to operate one in the state (Ranney, 8/9).

National Journal: Brownback: Kansas To Return $31.5 Million Health Exchange Grant
Kansas will return a $31.5 million grant to the federal government that aimed to help the state set up a health-insurance exchange, state officials announced on Tuesday. GOP Gov. Sam Brownback said the state would return the money because of doubts surrounding the federal government's ability to pay for the grant in the future. Kansas was one of six states to receive extra funding in February. "There is much uncertainty surrounding the ability of the federal government to meet its already budgeted future spending obligations. Every state should be preparing for fewer federal resources, not more. ... That requires freeing Kansas from the strings attached to the Early Innovator Grant" Brownback said in a statement (McCarthy, 8/9).

The Hill: Kansas To Return $31.5M Healthcare Grant
Kansas is returning a $31 million grant to help implement the federal health care reform law. Gov. Sam Brownback (R) announced Tuesday that his state would return its "early innovator" grant. Tea party activists have criticized Brownback for accepting the money, saying his decision validated the health care law and undermined the lawsuits against it. "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. That requires freeing Kansas from the strings attached to the Early Innovator Grant" (Baker, 8/9).

CQ HealthBeat: HHS 'Disappointed' Kansas Returning $31 Million Exchange Grant
Responding to an announcement by Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback that he is returning a $31 million federal "early innovator" grant that was to pay for cutting-edge state insurance exchange development, a Health and Human Services official said Tuesday that "we are disappointed that Kansas has given up an opportunity to be leader in the development of technology for state exchanges." The official added that the work "could have benefited the citizens of Kansas as well as those of other parts of the country" (Reichard and Bunis, 8/9).

Modern Healthcare: Kansas Returning $31.5 Million In Grant Money
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer announced Tuesday that Kansas will return the early innovation grant it received in February from HHS to implement a state health insurance exchange. An HHS official said the agency has not received a formal letter about Kansas returning the $31.5 million it had been granted, but rather learned of the decision in a news release from the governor's office (Zigmond, 8/9). 

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