Archive for Thursday, March 11, 2010

Professors differ on health amendment

March 11, 2010, 9:37 a.m. Updated March 11, 2010, 9:37 a.m.


— Law professors on Thursday disagreed on the effect of a proposed state constitutional amendment that seeks to allow Kansans to reject any federal health care requirement to purchase insurance.

Kris Kobach, who teaches law at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, said Senate Concurrent Resolution 1626 would give Kansans who challenge federal health care requirements more strength in court, and would allow the state attorney general’s office to intervene in any legal fight.

He said the state would have a good case. “Never before has Congress attempted to force people to purchase anything. It is completely unprecedented,” Kobach said. If passed in Congress, pending federal health care reform could set up fines for people who don’t get coverage.

But Stephen McAllister, a professor at Kansas University, said passage of the amendment to the Kansas Constitution would have no impact on how the case would be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

McAllister said any legal challenge to federal health reform would probably turn on whether the Supreme Court rules that Congress has the power to require citizens to purchase health insurance. He said that question will be decided regardless of what the Kansas Constitution says. “I see this as a symbolic measure and nothing more,” he said of SCR 1626.

Both attorneys said they weren’t speaking on the behalf of their schools. Kobach supports the proposed amendment, while McAllister was listed as neutral on the measure.

Dave Roland, a policy analyst with the Show-Me Institute, said he would be “willing to bet some money” that any federal health insurance mandate would be stricken by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A legislative subcommittee studying SCR 1626 took no action. State Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood, said he would get the subcommittee together later to discuss “what we want to do with this.”

A constitutional amendment requires two-thirds support in the House and Senate before it can be put before voters to decide.


Jimo 8 years, 2 months ago

"Never before has Congress attempted to force people to purchase anything."

Despite the spin, the health insurance reform bill does NOT require the purchase of health insurance. Rather, the bill taxes those without health insurance. As long as you're willing to pay your own way by compensating the government for the burden the uninsured place on the taxpayer, you're fine; you are not forced "to purchase" anything. Obviously, you may find it a cheaper alternative (and more fruitful) to purchase insurance but you are not required to do so. The Constitution grants Congress the power to levy such 'event taxes' and the power to regulate commerce including insurance, medicine, etc (all major forms of interstate commerce).

(As it stands, it is unclear the exact final nature of the tax. The House runs it through an income tax. The Senate, whose bill apparently the House will now pass, used an excise tax. Neither pose a constitutional problem.)

We've seen before with the immigration issue that whatever Kobach's knowledge as a law professor, it has been (and can be) clouded by his extremist political views. (You'd think being laughed at by the courts would be discouraging.) While his comments make for interesting interest advocacy they are not neutral summaries of the law.

Paul R Getto 8 years, 2 months ago

If these brave people mean what they say, 'man up' and reject all federal assistance and money; the recently awarded disaster relief comes to mind. How about farm aid, highway funds, federal education and nutrition dollars, etc? These folks are such grandstanding hypocrites. If Kansas really wants to refuse all this money and stand alone, I am sure folks in Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, etc. can find a use for the funds. Kobach is pretty scary. If he gets elected Sec. of State it should be interesting to see if he'll do the job or just use it for a platform to promote his views, most of which seem to have little to do with actual voting.

elarson 8 years, 2 months ago

All the more reason to have a public option.

lounger 8 years, 2 months ago

ANYTHING that includes Kobach is rotten....

cdcass 8 years, 2 months ago

Kobach would say anything for his self serving cause. Why would anyone vote for or trust someone who has been a proven liar in years past? People are already paying more in taxes because there is no health reform in this country. Why do we pay such outrages costs for any treatment now? Because so many do not have health insurance and cannot pay their bills when they get treatment. With health care reform, costs would be reduced, no denials from providers for preexisting conditions, and no denials after paying years to insurance companies and you do become ill. No annual rate increases, and lowered prescription costs. We are forced to pay auto insurance - we are required to pay home-owner's insurance at a state level, why should we not be required to carry health insurance especially given the fact that this country spends more on health care from the budget than any other item? It just makes sense. No matter what lies you hear from those against health reform, get the facts from the Or go to Some people seem intent on protecting the large insurance companies who rob them blind, and the lawmakers who pocket large payoffs from their lobbyist to vote in their favor - I choose to look at the overall picture - when 18 other countries are doing quite well with universal, or single pay - we are arguing over the government "taking over," and that is absurd. The government is trying to bring costs down while reducing the deficit. People need to wake up to that fact.

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