Archive for Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Insurance fight over abortion, smoking, erectile dysfunction sent back to committee

February 17, 2010, 5:28 p.m. Updated February 17, 2010, 8:31 a.m.


— A non-controversial insurance bill got loaded up Wednesday in the House with amendments on abortion, smoking and erectile dysfunction.

But after several hours of debate, House Bill 2490, which initially dealt with longterm health care, was sent back to committee.

“Part of it has been good, part of it has been a waste of time,” state Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, said of the House debate.

The debate started when state Rep. Peter DeGraaf, R-Mulvane, pushed through an amendment that would require women to buy extra health insurance to cover abortions. The amendment was passed 73-45. The exception would be if the abortion was required to save the life of the woman.

Supporters of the amendment said it would save people who oppose abortion from seeing their insurance payments subsidize such coverage.

Opponents called it ludicrous and discriminatory. What if a woman is raped and needs an abortion, but doesn’t have the procedure covered on her policy, they asked.

On smoking, state Rep. Barbara Bollier, R-Mission Hills, successfully added an amendment that would require an extra premium to cover illnesses caused by tobacco products.

Bollier said the Legislature shouldn’t micro-manage insurance companies, but that the abortion amendment opened up the door.

Then state Rep. Ann Mah, D-Topeka, proposed an amendment to exclude coverage of erectile dysfunction from insurance poiicies, unless the policyholder purchased a specific rider to cover that.

Peck drew guffaws when he said the amendment “won’t stand up on its own.” But Mah’s amendment was approved 64-35.

That’s when state Rep. Nile Dilmore, D-Wichita, and Peck, who are both members of the Insurance Committee, sought to send the bill back to committee. Both said they were most concerned with the impact of Bollier’s amendment.

Meanwhile, the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee advanced without a recommendation a constitutional amendment that is aimed at nixing any federal requirement that Kansans purchase health insurance.

"The Healthcare Freedom Amendment will help protect the people of Kansas from the disastrous results of the proposed healthcare bill that Washington, D.C. intends to force upon us,” said state Sen. Jim Barnett, R-Emporia, and chair of the committee.


kusp8 8 years, 2 months ago

Eh, not too worried about it. Somebody will file an emergency restraining order preventing this from being enforced. It will then be overturned in the courts as unconstitutional. That's all assuming that the Gov signs it.

maxcrabb 8 years, 2 months ago

If women only needed other women to become pregnant and give birth, I might be able to understand this bill.

However, it still takes two to tango...

Uhjh 8 years, 2 months ago

What a bunch of junk, why not a premium on weight as obesity is causing more health problems than most other things. Just another sin tax what a bunch hypocritical, self-righteous morons.

lawrencechick 8 years, 2 months ago

What the heck does this have to do with long term care and why are you allowed to do this with a bill???

situveux1 8 years, 2 months ago

Stand up on it's own. Such a waste of time, and yet so funny.

headdoctor 8 years, 2 months ago

Living proof that Kansas is completely missing the boat by not taxing stupidity. We could solve a good portion of our budget problems and never even have to tax anyone outside of Capital Square in Topeka.

mr_economy 8 years, 2 months ago


House rules require that amendments be germane to the subject of bills, and one legislator did ask for a ruling on the germaneness of this amendment. That ruling is made by the chair of the House Rules Committee, who happens to be the same Republican Clark Shultz who championed this very idea about insurance abortion restrictions back in January. Not too surprising that he ruled the amendment was germane.

Ah, the refreshing stench of corruption.

texburgh 8 years, 2 months ago

“Part of it has been good, part of it has been a waste of time,” state Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, said of the House debate.

The good part, of course, was limiting a woman's right to health care. The waste of time was limiting a man's. I have never heard a wing-nut be so clear in what he had to say. Republicans like Peck make me want to vomit.

francesca18 8 years, 2 months ago

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Paul R Getto 8 years, 2 months ago

Welcome to the Middle Ages, Kansas. I'm sure Governor Brownback will feel right at home.

WilburM 8 years, 2 months ago

Taxing stupidity would do it; a special zone for the Legislature -- KS budget balanced in no time. Honest to Pete, what are they thinking???

And in case you want to know the relevance to health care reform, just look at Nick Kristof's NYT piece today, which simply examines the immense cost for all of us of doing nothing.

naturalist 8 years, 2 months ago

How do you prove an illness is caused by tobacco?

Jeremy DeBoard 8 years, 2 months ago

naturalist (anonymous) says...

How do you prove an illness is caused by tobacco?

Obviously if you use tobacco and have an illness, it was caused by said use.

I went to the doctor recently to get a plantar wart froze and what did the doc want to talk about but my smoking habit.

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