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Disabled man wins battle against Kansas healthcare cuts

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- A disabled Prairie Village man, who expected to lose his around-the-clock nursing help January 1st, has received the Christmas present he wanted but never expected.

"The material objects of Christmas pale in comparison to the kind of joy that I feel. Not only for me, but my family," said Finn Bullers.

The 50-year-old former newspaper reporter has a rare and aggressive form of muscular dystrophy. The state of Kansas has warned his family for nearly a year that as the state privatizes Medicaid under a program called KanCare, his in-home help from a caregiver would be reduced from a 168-hours a week to 40-hours a week, beginning in 2014.

But on Christmas Eve, a case worker from his managed care organization United HealthCare showed up at his house and told him the decision to reduce his hours of help had been reversed.

"The thousand-pound boulder has been lifted off my shoulders," said Bullers.

His wife, Anne Christiansen-Bullers told FOX 4 she's relieved because circumstances would have made it difficult for their family to adapt.

"Turned out to be impossible to be able to have a full-time job, take the kids where they need to go and still make sure that he was safe," she said.

Bullers has been one of the most vocal critics of the state's plan to replace Medicaid with KanCare. In early December he testified at the state capitol in Topeka before the National Council on Disability. After his testimony the National Council on Disability wrote a recommendation to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that Kansas delay implementation of KanCare for at least a year, something state leaders insist isn't necessary.

As for being able to keep his 24/7 home healthcare Bullers said, "This is not a battle that has been won, this is one battle in a larger war against for-profit care at the expense of quality care for individuals that are far worse off than I."

email:rob.low@wdaftv4.com
twitter: @RobLowTV

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