Kansas Budget Battle Looms Over Insurance Tax Hike

(AP) – An $80 million piece of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan for balancing the next state budget is in trouble in the Legislature because a major health insurance company opposes it.
Budget Director Shawn Sullivan said in a statement Wednesday that the Republican governor’s office is having active discussions with Aetna, legislators and the state Insurance Department about the disputed measure.
It would increase a fee paid by HMOs to 5.5 percent from 1 percent. Three private health insurers that manage the state’s Medicaid program would pay most of it.
But Aetna told legislators last month that it would pay $12 million a year in additional fees and Kansas consumers would see higher premiums.
The Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure last month but it has stalled in the House.

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