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Medicaid Law Not Always Right

I had about five different articles written to lead off this month’s newsletter. Then the idea came to me this early Friday morning.

A little background: Medicaid is funded in part federally and in part by the state. In Kansas, about 55% of our Medicaid program is federally funded and the remaining 45% is funded by Kansas.

The Medicaid laws are federal laws. There are various federally issued Medicaid rules. However, states are given more and more latitude to adopt their interpretation of the laws and rules. States are even free to adopt their own laws regarding administration of the program.

So it is with Kansas: we have our own laws and regulations. However, they are supposed to be consistent with the federal laws and regulations.

That is not always so. At times the Kansas laws and/or regulations may be too restrictive or contrary to federal law. Particularly in the area of trusts and availability of resource areas we have seen possibly impermissible restrictions. As an example, in 2004 Kansas passed legislation dealing with special needs or supplemental trust that may not withstand federal scrutiny.

Another example are the regulations passed in Kansas regarding annuities. Again those regulations seem to be contrary to what the federal law allows.

So what are we to do? First, we need to remind our legislators that they are dealing with real people – that the changes in the laws they make may deprive an elderly person of the health care that person needs. Second, when the appropriate case arises we will go to court. We fight the battle. We correct the wrong by using our judicial system.

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