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Richard Crowson Commentary

Richard Crowson: A Different Kind Of Madness

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We’re in the throes of a kind of “March madness” that most likely will not be going away come April. It is a sort of madness that has a much more profound impact any than basketball game could ever have.

I’m talking about the kind of madness that could leave thousands of Kansas Medicaid recipients stuck in that crazy-making, Alice-in-Wonderland place of having to deal with for-profit companies who will make decisions about those folks’ health care.

Governor Brownback’s proposal would move Kansas’ Medicaid program to a managed-care system in which private, profit-motivated insurance companies are injected between the patients and their care providers. And, incredibly, the governor insists on including the developmentally disabled in this plan.

The governor calls his plan KanCare. This is a style of labeling that has been popular at least since the Reagan Administration, where you label something as the opposite of what it really is. If the label reflected what this plan really is, it would be called “Can’t Care.”

Expert testimony before a Kansas Senate committee this week has verified that three out of the five companies that are bidding on this Kansas plum offering have Moody’s credit ratings that are actually below that of junk bonds. Yet, the governor continues to decree to us that he knows best. He hasn’t resorted to Queen of Hearts tactics quite yet. He’s not screaming, “Off with their heads” at his critics. But Governor Sam has responded with the classic technique of adding a million bucks to his plan’s budget, which he intends for “education efforts.” We all know what that means: PR, or spin control.

Our heads are spinning, alright. This March madness might also be called “The Madness of King Sam.”