AP on controversy over extra Medicaid funds

The AP:

Officials of a nonprofit group that serves the developmentally disabled told legislators Wednesday its perceived pull with Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ administration isn’t the real issue in a dispute over its state funding.

Instead, they said, criticism of Community Living Opportunities’ increase in Medicaid payments is rooted in an ongoing turf battle involving some of its competitors. They also said their Lenexa-based group did nothing unusual in seeking help from the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

The decision, made in October 2008 by SRS Secretary Don Jordan, is worth almost $713,000 a year to Community Living Opportunities. The Kansas House budget subcommittee on social services held a hearing on the matter Wednesday as Sebelius awaits confirmation as U.S. secretary of health and human services, who oversees Medicaid for the federal government.

Community Living’s board members include Larry Gates, a Sebelius friend and chairman of the Kansas Democratic Party. Gates contacted Sebelius’ chief of staff about the group’s funding issues, but he has said he never talked to Sebelius directly.

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