Archive for the ‘Mike O’Neal’ Category

With the knowledge and approval of Kansas Governor Brownback, Kansas received a $1,000,000 grant from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (former Kansas Governor) and Health Care Czar Nancy Ann DeParle (former Cerner Board Member).  During the recent state-wide debate whether to return the $31,500,000 Early Innovator Grant monies, all the key Kansas players knew that independent of that discussion, Obama Care was in fact being implemented in Kansas.  NOlathe can only speculate that the “months of discussions” now so readily stated by politicians was merely a stall (as in producing horse dung for Speaker O’Neil) tactic allowing the complete spending of the low profile money for initial Obama Care implementation.  Below is link to state document and tables that allow us to make that conclusion.

NOlathe will be making and posting a series of Kansas Open Record Act (KORA) requests with Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger to determine when and with whom these monies were spent.  We will also be asking about all approved or pending contracts that were made as a result of this first phase.

CAUTION: The Surgeon General has determined that supporting the R prior to a Party Platform rather than the R after a politician’s/candidate’s name can be hazardous to your friendships.


“The Kansas Insurance Department (KID) is the Kansas state agency responsible for requesting $1,000,000 in funding from HHS for planning the Kansas Health Benefits Exchange. As part of a multi-year effort to provide Kansas small businesses and consumers with affordable, competitive health insurance, KID is prepared to convene a multifaceted outreach and statewide planning process from October 2010 through September 2011.”


KANSAS EXCHANGE PLANNING GRANT BUDGET FOR 2010/2011Total Quarter 1  Quarter 2  Quarter 3  Quarter 4 
Personnel  $0  $25,000  $25,000  $25,000  $25,000 
Fringe Benefits  $0  $7,500  $7,500  $7,500  $7,500 
Research Studies $200,000  $37,500  $62,500  $50,000  $50,000 
Consumer/Sml Business Outreach $175,000  $50,000  $50,000  $50,000  $25,000 
Work Groups & Facilitation $325,000  $72,500  $82,500  $82,500  $87,500 
Other awarded work $50,000  $12,500  $12,500  $12,500  $12,500 
Contracts Subtotal $750,000  $172,500  $207,500  $205,000  $172,000 
Equipment / computers  $15,000  $0  $5,000  $5,000  $5,000 
Supplies  $10,000  $2,500  $2,500  $2,500  $2,500 
Travel – Staff  $20,000  $5,000  $5,000  $5,000  $5,000 
Workgroups & other $20,000  $5,000  $5,000  $5,000  $5,000 
Other Expenses 
Meetings $35,000  $5,000  $10,000  $10,000  $10,000 
Outreach $75,000  $12,500  $12,500  $25,000  $25,000 
AV Products $25,000  $5,000  $5,000  $10,000  $5,000 
Miscellaneous $50,000  $12,500  $12,500  $12,500  $12,500 
Other Expenses Subtotal $185,000  $35,000  $40,000  $57,500  $52,500 
Indirect Charges  $0  $0  $0  $0  $0 
Total  $1,000,000  $220,000  $265,000  $270,000  $245,000 
TIME LINE AND WORK PLAN TASK  Description  Q1  Q2  Q3  Q4 
Create and organize KID HBE team 
A1  Assign internal staff; work with HR and Finance for enablement 
A2  Define project scope of work and budget allocation 
A3  Coordinate event scheduling, time line reporting, directories 
A4  Contractor procurement – identify work, candidates, means 
A5  Scheduling and attendance for staff training and education 
A6  Document and draft implementation plan for 2011-2012 
TASK  Description  Q1  Q2  Q3  Q4 
Background Research 
B1  Identify information requirements for design phase & operational phase 
B2  Design prototype tables and charts / formulate study design 
B3  Submit Requests for Information 
B4  Commission external research and information services 
B5  Acquire benchmark and comparative measures 
B6  Telephone interview survey for KS Health Insurance Survey 
B7  Survey of Small Business Health Insurance 
B8  Update KS Uninsured Report 
B9  Preliminary assessment of potential demand for KS HBE 
TASK  Description  Q1  Q2  Q3  Q4 
Create stakeholder involvement 
C1  Formulate / implement outreach for legislative and regulatory 
C2  Formulate / implement outreach for partners & participants 
C3  Formulate / implement outreach for consumers, small business 
C4  Formulate / implement outreach for influencing organizations 
C5  Assemble contact information 
C6  Develop outreach and media plan (web, traditional, in-person) 
C7  Engage communications firm to assist 
C8  Schedule statewide outreach meetings 
C9  Discuss / secure participation agreements with partners 
C10  Designate Advisory Panel (steering, research, outreach) 
C11  Designate Legislative, Regulatory work group 
C12  Designate Insurance & Finance work group 
C13  Designate Organization/Operations work group 
C14  Schedule activities and due dates for deliverables 
TASK  Description  Q1  Q2  Q3  Q4 
Governance Model 
D1  Discuss features and benefits of various organizational forms 
D2  Evaluate currently-working models 
D3  Review underlying statutes 
D4  Contractor procurement – identify work, candidates, means 
D5  Scheduling and attendance for staff training and education 
D6  Document and draft implementation plan for 2011-2012 
D7  Defining charter, governing structure, by-laws, roles and responsibilities 
D8  Secure statutory and regulatory changes for financing, resources 
D9  Identify accountabilities with specific agencies and public 
D10  Convene discussions on HBE policies & operating practices 
TASK  Description  Q1  Q2  Q3  Q4 
Regulatory / Policy Actions 
E1  Group initiates discussion with legislature & staff 
E2  Establish calendar for discussion / briefings 
E3  Acquire time lines and decision points for ongoing legislative or regulatory changes 
E4  Convene discussion on political strategy for success 
TASK  Description  Q1  Q2  Q3  Q4 
Insurance and Finance 
F1  Convene discussion on number, types of plan options 
F2  Seek actuarial input on pricing, risk adjustment, other issues 
F3  Identify types of decision support aids for consumers / groups 
F4  Summarize major financial factors affecting HBE viability 
F5  Develop options for business model 
F6  Pro forma modeling of cash flow, losses, break even 
F7  Outline and document operating principles & practices 
F8  Begin outreach for implementation (banking, admin functions) 

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House Leadership Supports Governor’s Decision to Return “Early Innovator” Grant

Topeka – Kansas House Leadership today applauded Gov. Brownback’s decision to return federal “Innovator Grant” funds. “We have been working closely with the Governor’s Office and Kansas Insurance Commissioner Praeger’s office on this issue and are grateful for their efforts and expertise. Federal mandates tie the hands of the Kansas Legislature on too many issues,” said House Speaker Mike O’Neal (R-Hutchinson). “With strings attached, an unknown ultimate price tag and an unworkable timeline, the ‘early innovator’ grant involves unreasonable risk. The Governor made the right decision. We must continue to focus on health solutions that meet the needs of Kansans.”

Half a dozen states received “early innovator” grants which are tied to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. By returning the $31.5 million, Kansas joins Oklahoma as the second state to return the federal grant.

“I support the Governor’s decision to return the ‘early innovator’ grant to the Department of Health and Human Services,” said Majority Leader Arlen Siegfreid (R-Olathe). “If the State chose to spend these funds, we would have to adhere to a strict timeline, which prevents legislative oversight, for implementing a health exchange in Kansas. When the questions of our elected leaders cannot be answered because the rules and regulations surrounding this program remain incomplete, circumventing the legislature should not be an option.”

Said Speaker Pro Tem Jene Vickrey (R-Louisburg), “The ‘early innovator’ grant program is one more example of the federal government trying to control states through financial incentives by pushing a ‘one size fits all’ Washington solution to healthcare in Kansas. I appreciate Governor Brownback’s rejection of this Washington solution to healthcare and allowing Kansans to develop a Kansas solution.”

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PART I-  When Republican and Kansas Speaker of the House loses a political debate and a duly voted piece of legislation becomes law, what does the same person but also lawyer do?  He sues the State.  (We have already written how this prominent leader of the Kansas Republican Party has been married three times with the last two being his legislative secretaries.  In violation of Kansas nepotism laws, his current wife maintained employment by The State under his direction.)

Published: 11/24/2010 12:10 PM | Last update: 11/24/2010 12:29 PM

O’Neal lawsuit

Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal has another opportunity to bow out gracefully as lead attorney for a lawsuit against the state, his representation of which has been awkward and inappropriate.

O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, just handily won re-election and appears a lock to hold the Speaker’s post. His party did well statewide, giving the GOP an even stronger hold on the Legislature and an ally in the governor’s office, which Sam Brownback will occupy come January.

Moreover, a Republican is taking over the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, and Derek Schmidt might prove helpful in O’Neal’s crusade against fee fund swaps.

O’Neal filed suit earlier this year against the state on behalf of more than 15 plaintiffs that saw fees paid into specific funds swept into the state general fund. O’Neal always has had a valid case, but he never was the right person to represent the plaintiffs, because that puts the Speaker of the House in the position of suing the very government that he has been elected to and sworn to serve.

In the lawsuit, O’Neal cited former Republican Attorney General Carla Stovall’s 2002 opinion in which she considered a prior fee sweep as potentially unconstitutional. Current AG Steve Six has ignored that opinion, but Schmidt might have more respect for it, O’Neal said.

Whether Schmidt lends any support is immaterial. The point is that the landscape has changed. O’Neal has an opportunity to turn the page and start fresh by doing the right thing and handing off the lawsuit to another attorney.

He can tell the plaintiffs he will support them and fight for the cause against such fee fund sweeps in his role as a legislator and Speaker but that they should seek outside representation. In so doing, O’Neal would do much to repair his image and his credibility as a legislative leader when it comes to lawsuits against the state.
By John D. Montgomery/Hutchinson News editorial board

PART II- When my Kansas House Representative Charlotte O’Hara speaks out opposing Kansas’ implementation of Obamacare she is stripped of Committee assignments. 

Dear Friends,
I’m sharing my email conversation with Speaker O’Neal beginning July 7th and ending July 20th. I believe this will be extremely enlightening for you on the inter workings of Republican leadership.
I was removed from the Financial Institutions and Insurance Interim Committee that will study the issue of health exchanges in Kansas because I have been willing to speak out against Kansas accepting the $31.5 Early Innovator Grant as you will see noted in the last email from Speaker O’Neal.
Also I’m including the link to the Kris Koback Show that Speaker O’Neal sighted as the reason for my removal from the committee.
Click on the July 12th icon under Kris’ picture to right side of site. In the very beginning, there is about a minute of silence, then several disconnects with Kris whose is doing his show via remote broadcasting.
Read it and weep, this is how your Republican elected officials are kept in line.
Charlotte O’Hara

Subject: RE: health exchanges
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 16:13:32 -0500
From: moneal@gh-ks.com
To: ciohara@hotmail.com
CC: Rachelle.Colombo@house.ks.gov; Christie.Kriegshauser@house.ks.gov; Rita.Mailen@house.ks.gov

Having reviewed our recent e-mail exchanges and having listened to the Kobach pod-cast of July 10th twice now, I’ve decided to go a different direction with the committee appointment and appoint another member. As I mentioned in my first e-mail response to you when you asked to be considered for the Committee, I have been concerned with your rhetoric on this subject. I do respect your views but your manner of articulating those views has been concerning to me and now with the latest pod-cast I found several of your remarks did not reflect the “respectful and healthy attitude” I am looking for in a Committee member. You are absolutely entitled to your views and I believe in your right to say exactly what you feel, but as an elected official and fellow House member, your rhetoric reflects on me and the House, whether those remarks are made in the committee setting or otherwise. A number of colleagues, many of whom agree with you philosophically on the subject, have already expressed concern and disappointment over the tone of your remarks during the pod-cast. The Committee has a stated function and being a platform for the strident advocacy of a singular view by any Committee member is not that function. The Committee may well reach a result consistent with your view but it needs to be because it was the product of consensus reached after open-minded consideration of the relevant facts, consensus which you have previously expressed some disdain for.
Charlotte, I’m sorry to disappoint you with this decision. Know that I, too, am disappointed.
Michael R. O’Neal
Speaker of the House
Gilliland & Hayes, P.A.
P. O. Box 2977
Hutchinson, KS 67504-2977
620-662-0537 – Phone
620-669-9426 – Fax
The information contained in this message is PRIVILEGED information, intended only for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is addressed. DO NOT FORWARD. Anyone receiving this message other than the named addressee, or an employee or agent thereof, should immediately notify the sender by return electronic mail. The inadvertently received electronic message should be immediately deleted.

From: Charlotte O’Hara [mailto:ciohara@hotmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 11:29 AM
To: Mike O’Neal
Subject: RE: health exchanges


I received the list of Interim Committees approved at the June 30th meeting. Do you have any idea when the Financial Institutions and Insurance Interim Committee will be announced? I’m just trying to get dates set on my schedule on into the summer and fall.

Subject: RE: health exchanges
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2011 08:50:45 -0500
From: moneal@gh-ks.com
To: ciohara@hotmail.com

Financial Institutions & Insurance Interim Committee is probably what it will be called. The scope statement is:
“Study the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for any required corresponding state implementation legislation. Review options for a Kansas health insurance exchange that will comply with the federal health care legislation.”
The Committee has two other topics, dealing with uninsured motorists and criminal history checks and fingerprinting of certain financial service representatives.

From: Charlotte O’Hara [mailto:ciohara@hotmail.com]
Sent: Friday, July 08, 2011 8:29 AM
To: Mike O’Neal
Subject: RE: health exchanges
What is the name of the interim committee? Did your area get any rain? We received 1/2 inch, which is good for the garden, but could have used more.


Subject: Re: health exchanges
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2011 08:06:43 -0500
From: moneal@gh-ks.com
To: ciohara@hotmail.com

It will be up to the Chair to decide on dates. Senate Chairs this year.

—– Original Message —–
From: Charlotte O’Hara <ciohara@hotmail.com>
To: Mike O’Neal
Sent: Thu Jul 07 22:28:52 2011
Subject: RE: health exchanges


Thank you for the opportunity and I will have Beverly forward her resume to you.

When will the meetings begin?



Subject: RE: health exchanges
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2011 17:07:01 -0500
From: moneal@gh-ks.com
To: ciohara@hotmail.com


Frankness is something you and I have in common. I’m not sure I follow the “consensus allows one person to become a dictator” comment. Consensus is what it is: “general agreement; the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned; group solidarity in sentiment and belief.” Are you assuming you’re going to be the minority? That said, I will appoint you to the Committee and watch how you handle this opportunity to interact within the committee structure. I’ll pass along your suggestion on Beverly Gossage. What’s her resume?



From: Charlotte O’Hara [mailto:ciohara@hotmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2011 4:51 PM
To: Mike O’Neal
Subject: RE: health exchanges


I will serve on the committee with a respectful and healthy attitude which will include in-depth questions which will require research, some of which I have already done through legislative research. I will not offer the research that I have to the committee, but will let the committee know of its existence. Research should come directly from requests from the committee, not from me. As you know committee reports can have a majority report along with a minority report similar to the findings of our Supreme Court. Consensus allows, in my opinion, one person to become a dictator and I don’t think anyone wishes that from a committee. I am quite willing to view and and all documentation on the subject of health exchanges with an open mind. I would suggest Beverly Gossage as a resource for the committee as she has extensive knowledge on the subject of health exchanges.

Mike, frank discussions should not be feared but embraced as a healthy interchange of information which has been a long tradition in our country and state.

I will continue to speak out on the issue of the Early Innovator Grant with the concerns that I have based not on conjecture but on public documents.

You won’t be ashamed of how I conduct myself on the committee and maybe, just maybe you’ll really be glad that you took a chance on me.

I haven’t made plans yet to attend the July 16th event, but most likely will be there. I hope you’re having a good summer also.



Subject: RE: health exchanges
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2011 11:53:34 -0500
From: moneal@gh-ks.com
To: ciohara@hotmail.com


I have more than a passing knowledge of your interest and I appreciate that. Very candidly, I have followed your communications on the subject and have had concerns about some of your remarks directed at the Administration and Republicans who don’t view the subject exactly as you do. That said, I will consider putting you on the Committee if you agree to go in with an open mind and tone down the rhetoric. Your communications, frankly, do not suggest an open mind. If you think you already know all there is to know on the subject, a Committee assignment will not be productive. I, too, am well versed on the subject. I practice health care law in real life. I do not profess to know all the ramifications of the exchanges but do understand the potential legal ramifications. Will you agree to participate with a healthy and diplomatic attitude and help reach a well-informed consensus on how we should proceed? If so, let me know and I will appoint you. Charlotte, I have very limited appointments and there is much interest within the caucus. Here’s your chance, but it comes with conditions.

Hope your Summer is going well. We plan to attend the JCRP cookout on July 16. See you there?



From: Charlotte O’Hara [mailto:ciohara@hotmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2011 7:40 AM
To: Mike ONeal; Mike O’Neal
Subject: health exchanges


I presume that you have heard through the grapevine of my interest in the Early Innovator Grant and health exchanges that are required within the parameters of the grant. I’m requesting to serve on the interim committee that is studying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and legislative action needed for health exchanges as put forth in the following article:


Let me know. Thanks!

Charlotte O’Hara

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