Topeka — Several Republican state lawmakers toured Kansas on Tuesday pushing for a proposed state constitutional amendment that would prohibit requiring Kansans to buy health insurance under a government plan.
The proposal was touted by the legislators as a pre-emptive strike against health reform authored by Democrats in Congress.
“The federal government does not have the ability to manage health care,” said state Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, and chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee.
Similar efforts have been mobilized in other states by the American Legislative Exchange Council. The Kansas legislators were shuttled to news conferences in Wichita, Emporia, Topeka and Overland Park via a bus paid for by Americans for Prosperity, which opposes government expansion of health care.
State Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, and state Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia, also spoke at the Topeka event, which was held in the Senate chamber and attended by members of the 9-12 Project and Americans for Prosperity.
Afterward, Democrats slammed the proposal as partisan and hypocritcal.
“Although a vigorous debate on health care reform is expected, it is upsetting that the chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, the chair of the House Social Services Budget Committee, and a member of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee all are so opposed to helping the 300,000 Kansans currently without coverage,” said House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence. “Shouting ‘no’ before a bill has even been finalized — and with no alternative — is a disservice to the people of Kansas,” he said.
The proposed amendment will be introduced during the legislative session that starts in January. It would have to be approved by two thirds of the House and Senate to send it to voters for consideration in November 2010.