Archive for Wednesday, October 27, 2010

State’s role in health care reform law becoming focus of Kansas attorney general candidates

October 27, 2010


Election 2010

Find detailed candidate profiles, campaign finance information and complete election coverage in our Election Guide.

2010 Kansas Elections: Attorney General

Dennis Hawver, Steve Six and Derek Schmidt are running for Kansas Attorney General.

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Steve Six

Party: Democrat

Age: 44

Hometown: Lawrence

Work experience: Former Douglas County district judge; private practice attorney, 1994-2005.

Political experience: Current Kansas attorney general, appointed in 2008.

Education: Bachelor’s degree, Carleton College, Northfield, Minn.; law degree, Kansas University.

Derek Schmidt

Party: Republican

Age: 42

Hometown: Independence

Work experience: Attorney, private practice and city prosecutor for Independence; former assistant attorney general under Carla Stovall; special counsel to Gov. Bill Graves.

Previous political experience: Current Kansas Senate majority leader; elected to Senate in 2000.

Education: Bachelor’s degree, KU; law degree, Georgetown University.

The state’s role in the federal health care reform law has become a major issue in the Kansas attorney general’s race.

Current Attorney General Steve Six, a Lawrence Democrat, has opted not to join other states that have filed litigation to challenge the law.

“When we looked at it at the end of the day it seemed like there wasn’t much of a constitutional argument to it,” said Six, who previously served as a Douglas County district judge. “It was being handled in a far-flung state, and the cost of getting involved in that, in my view, outweighed the benefits that we’re going to get out of it anyway if that case succeeds out in Florida.”

But Six’s challenger, Republican Derek Schmidt, the Kansas Senate majority leader, said if elected he would work to get the state involved in a constitutional challenge to the law.

“I disagree with the decision to sit on the sidelines,” said Schmidt, who is also an attorney from Independence. “I think it’s clear that many Kansans want our state to participate in resolving the constitutional issues, which is the scope of the commerce clause and limits on the authority of the federal government.”

The two are the main candidates facing off in Tuesday’s election.

Financial fraud cases versus health care reform

Six was appointed to the post in 2008 by then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to replace Paul Morrison, who resigned amid a sex scandal. The son of retired Kansas Supreme Court Justice Fred Six said the office’s emphasis should be on prosecuting crimes, protecting children from sexual predators and working on reducing financial fraud and government waste.

On the campaign trail, Six said his office has worked to make record amounts of recoveries of funds in fraud cases.

“That’s why we built and emphasized cracking down on Medicaid fraud in the last three years,” he said.

Schmidt said those issues are important but he’s also hearing from voters that the state needs to be involved in the federal litigation on health care reform. He said the costs are likely minimal.

“There will be a point along the way for Kansas to weigh in on the side of state authority, and we’ll look for one of those opportunities and see,” Schmidt said.

Resume check

Both candidates have argued they have the upper hand on experience for the office.

Six said he has worked to take politics out of the office and his office’s results on consumer protection and protecting children from crimes have been a success.

“A three-year record of results is something you ought to believe in, not just somebody who thinks they can do the job and perhaps has some ideas about how they’d do the job,” Six said.

But Schmidt has played up his time in the Legislature in addition to working as an assistant attorney general when Carla Stovall held the office. He also works as a city prosecutor in Independence and private practice attorney.

“I believe an important attribute for a constitutional officer like the attorney general is to have that sort of broad experience both in the law and in public leadership in the state,” Schmidt said.

Libertarian Dennis Hawver, 67, an Ozawkie attorney, will also be on the ballot. Hawver says he is running because he believes that the major parties have created many of the country’s problems and that the state should focus more on crimes such as murder, theft and fraud and de-emphasize “victimless crimes,” such as drug crimes.

“The average citizen has no influence over governmental policy,” Hawver said. “I will work to free Kansans from expensive, ineffective and unjust government.”


Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 7 months ago

Funny, I thought you spelled "single issue candidate" P-H-I-L-L K-L-I-N-E

D-E-R-E-K S-C-H-M-I-D-T must be an alternative spelling.

eyeye 7 years, 7 months ago

First of all more Americans want "Health" "Care" reform than those who don't, so there is some probability that that fact goes for Kansas too.

Second, there is no real reason for Schmidt to want to re-build the wheel, at Kansas' expense, especially when so several other states are busy building their own cases and our Attorney General could sign onto any of that if it ever seems justified, so why would Schmidt want this hot-button distraction from the basic tasks of an Attorney General?

The way that the fault lines in the Republican party are developing, it is reasonable to hypothesize benefits of the status-quo to some rather large business salaries that have developed as a result of Medicare, salaries that would be influential in the Kansas Chamber: top-heavy administrative overhead, sweetheart deals with vendors, "risk management" consulting and such aggregating over the decades since Medicare's inception and to which all other systems have adapted in a manner that, while officially acceptable to CMS, do, indeed, affect the quality of care in our "health" "care" institutions.

So, given the fact of existing "Constitutional" challenges to the Health Care Affordability Act of 2010, plus the fact that more Americans want this kind of "Health" "Care" reform

Q. Whose interests would most likely be served by Schmidt's distractions from the work that Steve Six is doing? A. Those who finance Republican extremism in Kansas, for the defense of BIG salaries, The Kansas Chamber.

notajayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

eyeye (anonymous) says…

"First of all more Americans want "Health" "Care" reform than those who don't"

1) That has always been the case, in all the polls, since this debate started. Americans want reform. They don't want the reform that was passed.

2) Americans, as you said, want health care reform. There is nothing in the legislation that reforms health care in any way. I haven't been to the website lately, but for a while, even the White House's reform page stopped calling it "health care reform" and started calling it "health care insurance reform".

3) "The Health Care Affordability Act of 2010" is one of the biggest jokes, at the least the most inappropriately named pieces of legislation, of all time. There is nothing in the act that makes health care affordable, and every analyst agrees the costs will continue to rise. All the legislation does is change who pays for it.

4) There is approval for individual parts of the reform package, but not for the package as a whole.

Most people approve of extending insurance to those with pre-existing conditions, and for the tax credits for small businesses. Most people do not approve of the insurance mandate (only about 25% approve), and without that, the entire house of cards collapses.

So, given the fact of Americans not wanting the legislation as passed, whose interests were served by Steve Six's decision to sit on the sidelines?

A) The people of Kansas or B) The former governor of Kansas who appointed Six, and is now the one responsible for implementing the "reforms"

WHY 7 years, 7 months ago

Schmidt is an idiot. He wants to spend tax money to do something that is bound to loose and others are doing anyway which means even if they win, which they won't, we would get the benefit for free.

Horace 7 years, 7 months ago

Schmidt isn't an idiot, he's just playing the teabaggers for saps.

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