Archive for Friday, February 4, 2011

Kansas House committee advances proposed amendment against health reform law

February 4, 2011

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— A House committee on Thursday approved a proposed constitutional amendment that its supporters said would allow Kansans to ignore the federal health reform law.

“States have rights, states have sovereignty,” said Health and Human Services Committee Chair Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, who pushed for the amendment. “If we did not, we would be under a dictatorship,” she said.

But opponents said the measure was inaccurate and deceiving to voters because it would lead them to believe that a state constitutional amendment could trump federal law.

“States don’t have the right to nullify federal law through their own constitutions,” said Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield. “States can no more nullify this law than they have in any situation, including civil rights.”

HCR 5007 states that any person, employer or provider cannot be forced to participate in any health care system or purchase health insurance. Under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, most people must have insurance by 2014 or face fines.

The proposal was approved by the committee on a voice vote with only Democrats opposed.

Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia, said most Kansans oppose the health reform law. “We are sent here to represent the majority of our constituents who are crying out and saying the federal government has stepped over the boundaries,” she said.

But Rep. Ann Mah, D-Topeka, responded, “Passion is good, lying is bad. Most folks believe that they don’t like the federal health care bill, but to tell them they get to vote on it is a lie.”

Democrats argued that the U.S. Supreme Court will probably be the final arbiter on the law and its ruling will be on whether the law violates the U.S. Constitution, not state constitutions.

Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, said the federal government is supreme in this matter over the states. “We had a Civil War to decide that issue,” he said.

Rep. Bill Otto, R-LeRoy, said the state needs to stand up to the federal government. “I frankly see this as a line in the sand,” he said.

The measure now goes to the full House. Proposed constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate before they can be placed on the ballot for voters to decide.

To pass in the 125-member House, the measure will require 84 votes, and 27 votes in the 40-member Senate. If approved it would be on the ballot in November 2012.

Last year, the amendment fell short of getting a two-thirds margin in the House, but Landwehr said with a larger Republican majority in the House this year, its chances are better.

Comments

Carol Bowen 4 years, 3 months ago

" A House committee on Thursday approved a proposed constitutional amendment that its supporters said would allow Kansans to ignore the federal health reform law." I'm assuming we are attempting to change the state constitution. Did Kansas secede from the union?

tomsemiterrific 4 years, 2 months ago

No. Kansas did not secede from the union....yet. The amendment against Obamacare is there as the state's duty to make sure the Federal Government doesn't secede from the Constitution.

jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

It's up to the US Supreme Court to determine constitutionality, not individual states.

Alyosha 4 years, 2 months ago

Hi. Can you provide the Supreme Court decisions that support your view of the Constitution and States' ability to nullify federal law?

All the cases I've read, going back to those decided by founding fathers in their role as Supreme Court Justices, absolutely disagree with your contention that States have the power under the Constitution to nullify a federal law.

pace 4 years, 3 months ago

I find this heartening. I have lived in Kansas all my life, virtually in a Republican strong hold. Koch politics will lay waste to the Republican party. I predict the next few years will wake up a generation. This decade will go down in the history books as a period of Republican radicalism and ineffectiveness. They are so busy doing social template legislation. Posturing and stance rather than working on budget, jobs, and infrastructure. The transfer of state assets to corporate hands will sicken the working families. It is working families that have built up solid government in Kansas through generations. Each time the Koch Republicans tear down a family service or sell a state office building or raise taxes to support a corporate economic adventurer, voters will turn.

notajayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

"Posturing and stance rather than working on budget, jobs, and infrastructure."

And Obama and the Democrats running both houses of the federal legislature did what, again, to address the budget, jobs, and the infrastructure? Oh, that's right, nothing.

pace 4 years, 2 months ago

The democrats did very little, bush started the recovery by his emergency stimulus measure. The democrats just applied some remedies to avert a complete economic collapse. They should of done so much more. Lots of people should of gone to prison. The democrats were too political to really chase the crooks and pen them up. Both sides of the aisle are bent over to protect "white collar criminals". It is a matter of elitists projecting, no matter how many millions they steal, it is not like the thugs that hijack a car. They are wrong.
The democrats were wrong in the short run to try to accommodate so many of the republican issues, such as making the health care reform bill weaker. But in the long run the idea of bringing the country to center is smart. Bush and all the "KBad campaigns" have generated a radicalized right. It is not just because the Kbrotherhood funds the ads. It is a natural swing. The left was pretty radicalized in the 60's and 70's, Now it is the right that is radicalized.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 3 months ago

More grandstanding by the party of Kold-back. This is a patently illegal move but most Republicans think that the residents of Kansas that elected them are so stupid as to believe that any state can void a federal law. Gives you some idea of how the elected idiots regard their constituients.l

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

Wonder how many of our early-bird liberal-elitist-experts above also said the courts would rule the insurance mandate to be Constitutional ...

pace 4 years, 3 months ago

I hope the supreme courts finds the health care reform is constitutional. I think it is but I am not a lawyer. I think health care reform is necessary for our country, for working families. I think the insurance companies need to come to heel, the sudden disallowed insurance. I like people having to buy insurance. Tax payers pick up the bills of the uninsured at the emergency rooms. We need to concentrate on getting healthier. I think the health industry is almost as trapped as the working families. The insurance companies need to work with the patients and the doctors, not dictate.

notajayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

"I hope the supreme courts finds the health care reform is constitutional."

Health care reform probably is. Mandated health insurance probably isn't.

"I think health care reform is necessary for our country, for working families."

I think you're right. It's too bad that the legislation that was passed by the Democrats did nothing to reform healthcare.

"I think the insurance companies need to come to heel, the sudden disallowed insurance."

Um - just who do you think the biggest beneficiaries of the so-called "reform" package were? Pretty much everybody (at least everybody that was paying attention, on both sides of the aisle) agree the insurance companies are the biggest (if not the only) winners.

"Tax payers pick up the bills of the uninsured at the emergency rooms."

Wow. Too many myths in there to get to with a short answer. Um, taxpayers don't support most ER's, first of all. But more importantly, the uninsured use ER's less than insured people do. Both in terms of number of visits and dollars of resources. The ones who use the ER most are Medicaid recipients. And the new legislation eliminates the group of people who use ER's the least and expands the group who uses them the most. And guess what - you ARE paying for that.

" I think the health industry is almost as trapped as the working families."

Oh, puh-leeze. 'Non-profit' LMH makes as much 'revenues in excess of expenses' (which we used to call "a profit") as the average insurance company. Take out the approximately 4% profit margin of the insurance companies, and add back in all those things you complain the insurance companies won't pay for, and how much does that add up to, pace?

Insurance companies make more money when you don't get sick. Medical providers make more money when you do. Remember that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

"Health care reform probably is. Mandated health insurance probably isn't."

There'll be some mighty pissed off health insurance companies if that's all that's struck down, as it's part of the law at their insistence.

"It's too bad that the legislation that was passed by the Democrats did nothing to reform healthcare."

It's a very weak bill, to be sure, but this statement is just plain wrong. I'll point out two provisions in particular-- the ability for people to stay on their parents' policy till age 26, and the prohibition of denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

Granted, there is a distinction to be made between health insurance reform, and healthcare reform. But the fact is that if you don't have health insurance, you don't have full access to healthcare because the uninsured pay much higher fees for service than insurance companies do.

So being able to get insurance is a big deal if you want to have access to healthcare.

notajayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

"But the fact is that if you don't have health insurance, you don't have full access to healthcare because the uninsured pay much higher fees for service than insurance companies do."

Patently false. Those with insurance pay lower rates for the same services, but they also receive a disproportionate amount of unnecessary services, raising the total expenditure.

notajayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

"There'll be some mighty pissed off health insurance companies if that's all that's struck down, as it's part of the law at their insistence."

I already said that the insurance companies will be the biggest (if not only) beneficiaries of the legislation. However, it's ludicrous (even for you) to suggest the mandate was only included at the insistence of the insurance industry. Anyone that has even a basic understanding of the legislation knows that you can't mandate coverage for pre-existing conditions without the mandate that everyone carry insurance, without the cost of coverage skyrocketing at rates that would make the current situation pale in comparison.

" I'll point out two provisions in particular-- the ability for people to stay on their parents' policy till age 26, and the prohibition of denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions."

Which have absolutely nothing to do with reforming health CARE. But thanks for illustrating so clearly that you're one of the many who don't understand the difference between health CARE and health insurance, the former being in no way dependent on the latter. (Even the White House started referring to Obamacare as health insurance reform, not health care reform.)

pace 4 years, 2 months ago

Well Notajyak, you and I are very different, I think I have opinions based on information. You think you have facts based on your opinions. We disagree. You seem to have a radicalized view point and I am just a member of a working class family. Your reasoning is way too convoluted for me. It doesn't follow the facts I can find.

Fatty_McButterpants 4 years, 2 months ago

Wow, are you wrong. A study by the American College of Physicians, entitled "No Health Insurance? It's Enough to Make You Sick," found that "[u]ninsured Americans are less likely to have a regular source of care, to have had a recent physician visit, and to use preventive services. They are more likely to delay seeking care and to report not receiving needed care." This means that the transactional costs associated with treating an uninsured patient will be greater (e.g., they are 30-50% more likely to be hospitalized by something that could've been avoided with proper treatment). The same study also found that uninsured persons are more inclined to seek treatment from an ER - which is more expensive - even when their ailment is non-urgent.

Who do you think pays for those treatments? We do. Those costs are passed on to the rest of society in the form of higher premiums and/or higher taxes.

pace 4 years, 2 months ago

Good information, fatty, citing reliable source and making a sound argument. . For some isn't about how the law works or about health care, it is about feelings.

Jamminalive 4 years, 2 months ago

Do any of you have any health issues? or are you just arguing because it will affect your fat stacks of cash? It's ok, Americans are greedy....and yes I am American.

gudpoynt 4 years, 2 months ago

but if people with health issues have insurance, they'll be paying less than if they didn't, right?

Alyosha 4 years, 2 months ago

By "early-bird liberal-elitist-experts" do you also mean Former Reagan Solicitor General Charles Fried?

He gave testimony to a Senate committee and said he is "quite sure that the health care mandate is constitutional."

See the CSPAN video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UGQIk...

It's about time for conservatives to see that they've been sold a bill of goods by their leaders and by conservative media personalities.

Those with knowledge and experience of constitutional issues (you can call them "elitists" if you like) actually have no problem with the individual mandate and understand that yes, it is constitutional.

To claim otherwise is simply to reveal that one does not know what one's talking about.

jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

I disagree.

It seems to me that a mandate of that sort doesn't correctly fall under the Commerce Clause - health insurance purchases are individual intrastate purchases. The only way to get them under that umbrella is to use a very broad (overly so, in my opinion) interpretation of the clause that clearly violates the spirit in which it was written.

We will see what the SC says - I'm betting they'll say what I just said.

And so far, the lower courts seem somewhat evenly divided on the question.

gudpoynt 4 years, 2 months ago

agree with you jafs. There really is an interesting argument with all of this, and this article does a good job of presenting the opposing sides:

http://on.today.com/i7dqmI

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 3 months ago

Here's an irony for you. My self employed (and thus uninsured) 60 year old (and thus ineligible for Medicare) sister, who lives in another state and has been a died in the wool Republican her entire life, was just handed the news that a cervical vertebra has crumbled and that without surgery she runs the risk of ending up a quadriplegic for the rest of her life. The only thing saving her life and keeping her from bankruptcy is that she can get health insurance without regard to preexisting conditions now. It's been a highly bitter pill for her to swallow.

notajayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

I believe that provision has not taken effect yet, except for children.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

And yet Republicans have made the right to not buy health insurance their cause du jour, all while taking huge campaign contributions from the health insurance companies who are responsible for it being the law the land.

Go figure.

voevoda 4 years, 2 months ago

President Obama got elected by a majority vote, TomShewmon, so it doesn't matter how the people your wife knows voted. The health care reform is not "far-left." It's not "socialist." It doesn't involve a "wealth redistribution." It makes insurance somewhat more available, with the costs being borne primarily by working folks.
You should care more about people who need health care but can't afford it and can't afford insurance, TomShewmon, and less about keeping your mega-wealth.

tomsemiterrific 4 years, 2 months ago

If Obamacare is SOOOOOO good how come so many big companies have opted out of it because they couldn't afford it––pushing their employees into the government system. Isn't such a portent clear evidence that Obamacare is a backdoor way of eventually destroying the insurance companies and having single provider supply: that GREAT Federal government that already has two unfunded albatrosses around its wicked Neck: Social Security and Medicare. Plus, if some favored groups can opt out (I wonder if they cut that deal in exchange for support of the bill in the first place) and we poor peons can't, does that mean all pigs are equal, but some pigs are more equal than others?

Alyosha 4 years, 2 months ago

When you say "Obamacare," do you mean the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010?

If so, why do you not use the Act's actual title as it was passed by the majority of representatives of the American people?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 2 months ago

Well that is an easy one! I mean with the "Hawaiian Kenyan Dude" in the White House illegally, why should the Republican Radical Right NOT find every way to disrespect, ignore, attack and downplay this health care legislation? They are so pissed off that their fawning pair, Mr McCain and playboy-bunny-to-be (or is it "has-been") did not win the election that was the choice of the people that all common sense and decency and civility are out the door. The vile retuperation and vicious attacks of the Radical Republican Right trumpet section has been well documented lately, some even wanting to tie them to the horrible events in Arizona. Republicans are not interested in health care or any sort of program for the betterment of American Citizens, they simply want to win and "take back our country" Who's country is it anyhow????

voevoda 4 years, 2 months ago

Did I say that the current health insurance reform is "soooooo good," tomsemiterrific? It's only a step in the right direction, which is making sure that all Americans have affordable access to the health care they need. I don't care much how that is accomplished--though the private sector alone, or a government/private mix, or a national health care service. Ideology isn't what's important; it's making sure that our fellow Americans who are ill don't suffer from treatable and preventable illnesses.

frazzled 4 years, 2 months ago

American Civics 101: A state can't decide to nullify what the federal government decides. The Constitution doesn't work that way. It is astonishing that the same Tea Party state legislators who want to use the Constitution as a crass political tool clearly haven't bothered to actually READ it.

voevoda 4 years, 2 months ago

Some of the Founding Fathers wrote such opinions, Liberty_One, but their opinions were not upheld by law or judicial decision. The nullification issue was decided once and for all nearly a century and a half ago. Do you really want to reopen an issue that led to the Civil War over a small provision in health insurance law? If you do, you've certainly got strange priorities.

tomsemiterrific 4 years, 2 months ago

Vovoda's opinion makes the Federal government the judge of the limits of its own power: can you say totalitarianism? When we see a train of abuses from the General Government (which we unquestionably have) we must go back to our original justification for resistance to a Unitary state or a would-be Unitary state: The Declaration of Independence. Here we have two grave questions to consider of the most urgent concern and importance: After the Revolution would the subsequent government formed by the Patriots be immune to the abuses that precipitated the revolt against England? If not, and the Federal Agent exceeds its mandate and begins to usurp the authority of the true and only Sovereigns, the states, are American's still duty bound, like slaves, to conform to and obey the dictates of that new Government? Must they bend the back and shoulder every burden the General Government lays upon it no matter what, since the General Government and its constitution not only nullifies all state sovereignty it may choose to, but also the principles of liberty and self-determination clearly outlined in Jefferson's famous Declaration? In short, has the new Central Government made Jefferson's Declaration and its principles a dead letter? If so, voevoda has a point. If not, we still have the possibility of personal liberty and self-determination.

Alyosha 4 years, 2 months ago

There are no Supreme Court decisions that support your view, Liberty_One. In fact the law is quite clear that States have no power to nullify an Act of Congress. See http://media.idahostatesman.com/smedia/2011/01/25/13/11-35557_Response.source.prod_affiliate.36.pdf for a helpful run down of the actual legal decisions and state of law in the United States.

The decision in Cooper v. Aaron is a helpful resource as well to what the law in the United States actually is: http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=8453213781987973736&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

This will be decided in the Supreme Court, and the current 2-2 tie on its constitutionality indicate that it'll likely be declared by the current court, the majority of whom have already demonstrated that they are willing to rule on strictly political grounds, regardless of what the constitution may say. It's only a matter of time till they rule that Americans have the right to only whatever healthcare Big Health finds maximally profitable.

But we've got a legislature full of impatient legislators who view themselves as little foot soldiers for Beck, Rush, O'Reilly, Palin, etc. As such, the order of the day is mindless demagoguery, competent, sane governance be damned.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

"and the current 2-2 tie on its constitutionality "

In the lower courts, that is.

notajayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

"As such, the order of the day is mindless demagoguery, competent, sane governance be damned."

You summed up the Obama so-called 'reforms' rather nicely there.

jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

We'll see what the SC does.

According to generally conservative principles, they would interpret the Commerce Clause much more narrowly, and thus conclude that requiring individual purchases of health insurance (intrastate) is not a valid use of it.

That's my bet as to what the court will say.

notajayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

This can all be summmed up nicely by two statements in the story above:

"Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia, said most Kansans oppose the health reform law. “We are sent here to represent the majority of our constituents who are crying out and saying the federal government has stepped over the boundaries,” she said."

[In other words, we were sent here to represent our constituency, we're doing what they want because that's our job.]

"Rep. Ann Mah, D-Topeka, responded, “Passion is good, lying is bad. Most folks believe that they don’t like the federal health care bill, but to tell them they get to vote on it is a lie.”"

[In other words, the Democrats don't give a flying fig what the people they're supposed to be representing want, they don't have any say in what the government is going to force on them.]

Come to think of it, that sums up the parties' position on a lot of issues.

Mike Wasikowski 4 years, 2 months ago

You mention that the state Congressmen and national Congressmen are listening to their constituency and doing what they want. Are they going to listen to their constituency and do what they want when the constituency says that they don't want government to use defunding as a tool to prevent the implementation of the law? 62% of Americans disapprove of defunding the law, and that actually includes 40% of people who disapprove of the law and favor repeal. That 62% is a higher percentage than the level of disapproval of the law than ANY poll has found in the last 18 months. Wouldn't defunding the law be ramming that legislative agenda down our throats?

notajayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

"62% of Americans disapprove of defunding the law, and that actually includes 40% of people who disapprove of the law and favor repeal."

As with most polls, I suspect your answer lies in the wording/presentation of the polls. Dems are fond of pointing out that many of those who oppose Obamacare do so because it didn't go far enough. I'd be willing to bet that, if the questions were asked, we'd find out many of those who oppose de-funding do so because it doesn't eliminate the legislation altogether.

The fact is that no matter how the questions are asked, in poll after poll after poll, over a long period of time, the one constant has been that people oppose the insurance mandate, and without that, the rest of the house of cards collapses.

Mike Wasikowski 4 years, 2 months ago

"As with most polls, I suspect your answer lies in the wording/presentation of the polls."

The exact wording of the question:

"Some lawmakers who oppose the health care reform law say if Congress isn't able to repeal the law, they should try to stop it from being put into place by cutting off funding to implement it. Whether or not you like the health care reform law, would you say you approve or disapprove of cutting off funding as a way to stop some or all of health reform from being put into place?"

It's question 8 on the poll at http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/upload/8134-T.pdf. I would say that this wording is fairly written and doesn't bias responses in either direction. The fact that nearly 3 in 10 Americans who disapprove of the law and would repeal it wholesale also disapprove of defunding the law speaks volumes. And further, this same poll found a 41-50 split on favorability and unfavorability for the law period. You can't argue that this was a heavily slanted poll towards people who love the law. Americans DON'T want Congress to play politics with the law beyond trying to change it. If it's found to be constitutional by SCOTUS, defunding the law would be an action that is disapproved of by more Americans than have every disapproved of the law itself.

notajayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

"if Congress isn't able to repeal the law, they should try to stop it from being put into place by cutting off funding to implement it"

How about we ask this question in a poll: "If the police aren't able to get drunk drivers off the road, would you be in favor of either closing all bars or taking all cars off the road?" What do you think the outcome would be?

"Americans DON'T want Congress to play politics with the law beyond trying to change it."

Um, okay.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

If can't make a good argument, change the subject, right, nota?

pace 4 years, 2 months ago

NAJH If you don't want people to take you serious why bother to type? It isn't hard to read you feel one poll is important and then you argue other polls result aren't real? Heck the statements are within inches of each other. I have never decided much by polls. I am not fashionable.i don't know what color is in. I do know when I use opposite reasoning in the same topic discussion. Ask people if they want to be unable to buy insurance or suddenly lose their insurance because of a preexisting condition. That would be a poll worth listening to . The Democrats have. The republicans better listen. Democrats aren't the only ones who need better health care. The insurance companies best case scenario is for them to collect premiums and cheat people when it is time to pay out. The only way it could be better for the insurance companies it to get the government or courts to protect them from the regulations to stop the scam.

pace 4 years, 2 months ago

ntajayhawk stated "The fact is that no matter how the questions are asked, in poll after poll after poll, over a long period of time, the one constant has been that people oppose the insurance mandate ..." the statement is wrong and is not a fact. I know you probably really feel that is true or should be true, nope.

It is this type of hype that conservative republicans are using to sell their spin. Many naive people believe ads or statements they read in the papers. Very sad and irresponsible.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 2 months ago

I wrote to Roberts and Brownback before last November's election. neither of them wanted to read what i had to say about healthcare. I question what the "majority of our constituents" really thinks.

jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

If election turnout results are any indication, the majority (or close to 1/2) doesn't even feel it's worth their time to vote.

voevoda 4 years, 2 months ago

Ann Mah is not a "socialist," BloodBot. She is simply reiterating an established principle of American law. The health insurance reform act was passed by Congress in the proper, legal manner, and it was signed into law by the President in accordance with Constitutional process. The people have spoken, BloodBot. Can the people change their minds? Yes, but it is up to Congress to do so, not the Kansas State Legislature. Or howling mobs.

notajayhawk 4 years, 2 months ago

"The people have spoken, BloodBot."

From her quote: "to tell them they get to vote on it is a lie." Yep, sure sounds like it's the people that have spoken.

"The health insurance reform act was passed by Congress in the proper, legal manner, and it was signed into law by the President in accordance with Constitutional process."

The exact same process (at the state level) that would be used to pass this amendment to the state Constitution. Imagine that.

voevoda 4 years, 2 months ago

notajayhawk, Federal law trumps state law on this. So telling Kansans that they can pass this constitutional amendment and undo Federal law is a falsehood. I guess that Kansas do have the right to elect representatives who are ignorant of the US Constitution.

Matt Needham 4 years, 2 months ago

Take a look at the Iraqi constitution. We are paying for socialized health care and education, just not for Americans.

JeffCaldwell2 4 years, 2 months ago

The 10th Amendment found in the Bill of Rights says, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

I emphasize "nor prohibited by it to the States" because that phrase translates to individual states have the power over what is allowed as law in each individual state. Therefore if a state declares a law not wished allowed/unconstitutional, the law shall not be enforced in the state.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

But the commerce clause delegates power to the federal government that may or may not include the ability to require the purchase of health insurance. And there's the rub. That won't be determined by amending the state constitution.

JeffCaldwell2 4 years, 2 months ago

In 1992, in New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992), for only the second time in 55 years, the Supreme Court invalidated a portion of a federal law for violating the Tenth Amendment. The case challenged a portion of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985. The act provided three incentives for states to comply with statutory obligations to provide for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste. The first two incentives were monetary. The third, which was challenged in the case, obliged states to take title to any waste within their borders that was not disposed of prior to January 1, 1996, and made each state liable for all damages directly related to the waste. The Court, in a 6–3 decision, ruled that the imposition of that obligation on the states violated the Tenth Amendment. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote that the federal government can encourage the states to adopt certain regulations through the spending power (i.e., by attaching conditions to the receipt of federal funds, see South Dakota v. Dole), or through the commerce power (by directly pre-empting state law). However, Congress cannot directly compel states to enforce federal regulations.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

These are Supreme Court rulings, not amendments to state constitutions.

As I said, this will be determined by them, not state legislators looking for hot-button issues to demagogue over.

And it'll be determined on political grounds, since there is no clear definition of what can be covered under the commerce clause.

The sticky part for this court and its narrow conservative majority is that the requirement to buy insurance is there at the behest of the insurance companies, who just happen to be major benefactors for the Republican Party.

JeffCaldwell2 4 years, 2 months ago

Fascism needs to be halted and reversed.

JeffCaldwell2 4 years, 2 months ago

Most recently, the Commerce Clause was cited in the 2005 decision Gonzales v. Raich. In this case, a California woman sued the Drug Enforcement Administration after her medical marijuana crop was seized and destroyed by Federal agents. Medical marijuana was explicitly made legal under California state law by Proposition 215; however, marijuana is prohibited at the federal level by the Controlled Substances Act. Even though the woman grew the marijuana strictly for her own consumption and never sold any, the Supreme Court stated that growing one's own marijuana affects the interstate market of marijuana. The theory was that the marijuana could enter the stream of interstate commerce, even if it clearly wasn't grown for that purpose and it was unlikely ever to happen (the same reasoning as in the Wickard v. Filburn decision). It therefore ruled that this practice may be regulated by the federal government under the authority of the Commerce Clause.

JeffCaldwell2 4 years, 2 months ago

In 1992, in New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992), for only the second time in 55 years, the Supreme Court invalidated a portion of a federal law for violating the Tenth Amendment. The case challenged a portion of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985. The act provided three incentives for states to comply with statutory obligations to provide for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste. The first two incentives were monetary. The third, which was challenged in the case, obliged states to take title to any waste within their borders that was not disposed of prior to January 1, 1996, and made each state liable for all damages directly related to the waste. The Court, in a 6–3 decision, ruled that the imposition of that obligation on the states violated the Tenth Amendment. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote that the federal government can encourage the states to adopt certain regulations through the spending power (i.e., by attaching conditions to the receipt of federal funds, see South Dakota v. Dole), or through the commerce power (by directly pre-empting state law). However, Congress cannot directly compel states to enforce federal regulations.

Alyosha 4 years, 2 months ago

Hi. The Supreme Court and the Constitution wholly disagree with you. That is not the current state of law in the United States.

We all must obey the law. And state legislators who attempt to nullify Acts of Congress are in fact acting against the supreme law of the land -- the Constitution.

The Supreme court stated "No state legislator or executive or judicial officer can war against the Constitution without violating his undertaking to support it."

See Cooper v. Aaron, at http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=8453213781987973736&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

Really?

You think most people are satisfied with our current health care system?

I think that's extremely unlikely, and that most people have a variety of complaints about it, from costs to complexity to competence levels, etc. I know that I do, both from my own experience and from family members.

And, no, I'm not a "moocher" - I have private health insurance and take good care of myself - eat well, exercise, don't smoke, drink very moderately, etc.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

Most expressions of satisfaction with the healthcare system tend to be of the "it's better than nothing" variety.

jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

And when employers stop offering insurance? And don't raise salaries to match?

jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

The point is "go get a freekin' job" doesn't help if employers don't offer insurance or higher salaries.

jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

The idea that states can nullify laws if they are unconstitutional is interesting.

Isn't it the Supreme Court of the US that decides whether laws are unconstitutional or not?

If so, then a state's opinion wouldn't decide the question.

Alyosha 4 years, 2 months ago

Not true, Libery_One. What you state is not the law of the United States.

No court has every ruled as you suggest. See http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=8453213781987973736&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr Cooper v. Aaron for a Supreme Court decision that explicitly rejects your argument.

gudpoynt 4 years, 2 months ago

SC is the sole branch that can declare laws unconstitutional. States cannot override SC decisions. Where did you get that?

States can amend the constitution itself, thereby changing the (un)constitutionality of a law so deemed by the SC. But it requires 3/4 of states to ratify it, either by legislature or ratification convention.

That might be similar to undoing a SC decision, but it differs in that it could undo all SC decisions based on that part of the constitution that was changed.

But the states cannot target a specific SC decision and undo it, no matter how much of a majority agree. At least not to my knowledge. If I'm wrong, please let me know.

gudpoynt 4 years, 2 months ago

yeah i read that. Or part of it. They rambled relentlessly back then. Not sure when teachers started discouraging the run-on sentence, but I'm glad it happened.

Regardless, those resolutions are not the law that has been followed for quite some time.

As it stands today, states have the power to amend the constitution with a +75% majority, and, as always, states have the option to declare secession from the union.

But, as it stands today, for any state that wishes to challenge the constitutionality of a federal law, they must appeal to the highest court in the land, that being the supreme court of the US. As is currently happening, no?

gudpoynt 4 years, 2 months ago

"The problem is that Congress isn't following the Constitution right now"

That's what you think. That's what a lot of people think. In fact, enough people have thought along the same lines, that the legal breaks have been applied to this piece of legislation.

You should cool your jets. I honestly feel that the SC will side with the argument that "inaction" does not constitute "action" in this case, and thereby cannot be regulated by congress via the commerce clause.

Either way, a precedent regarding that distinction will have to be made.

gudpoynt 4 years, 2 months ago

"And when the federal government fails to follow the constitution as written? What then?"

Revolution of course. Relax.

"The problem here is tyranny--the federal government is not following the law."

That's what you, and a lot of other people think. But you have to admit, there's ambiguity. And it's by design. For situations just like this. We have a whole 3rd branch of government designated to discuss and arbitrate about issues just like this. And it's probably going to happen within a year or so.

Just because it's slow doesn't make it a tyranny.

gudpoynt 4 years, 2 months ago

"Let the states nullify this law"

I am letting the states (attempt to) nullify this law. The SC just might back them up. I wouldn't be surprised. The law seems to stretch the commerce clause further than it's been stretched in a long time.

It comes down to whether "inaction" is the same as "action" in an environment where everyone is presumed to be a potential participant.

TWoods 4 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

Looks like the reemergence of another regurgitating troll.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

"Ain't life in Kansas ten times better now that Kathleen and her band of clowns are gone?"

I assume that was supposed to be a rhetorical question, but, unfortunately, the answer is a resounding "no," even though you would answer it otherwise.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 2 months ago

You do not speak for me or a lot of other people I know.

voevoda 4 years, 2 months ago

This proposed constitutional amendment is an empty political gesture. It's an enormous waste of the taxpayers' money--and the State doesn't have any to spare. The cost of creating this constitutional amendment and putting it on the ballot ought to be channeled instead to our public schools. Maybe it can be used to support civics education. If a majority of the state legislators are any example, Kansas students would benefit from it.

Carol Bowen 4 years, 2 months ago

They are busy creating a bigger government.

tbaker 4 years, 2 months ago

Lets see...lower cost and reduce the number of people without health insurance. Thats the President's goal - right? Hows this sound:

  1. Give individuals the same tax break business gets. As it is, I have to rack up $10,000 in health care costs before I can deduct any of that on my income taxes. Business gets to write-off the first dollar.

  2. Mandate that all pharmacies and health care providers publish on the web and post in their place of business the cost for all the goods and services they provide. Give consumers the information they need to shop for the best price (check out what happened after Florida did this a couple years ago)

  3. Allow the sale of health insurance anywhere in the country.

  4. End or deregulate state insurance commissions (aka monopolies) and allow the sale of health insurance products people want. End mandates that require certain coverage must be purchased. Let people buy what they want.

All of these ideas are people vice government centric. People who object to them therefore do so simply because they cannot accept the notion of people taking care of themselves, so the discussion I see on this blog is not based on health care, its on the role of government. To those folks I ask: Can you show me one example of the government providing a good or service cheaper, faster, or better than the private sector? Besides the court system, police and military, all I ask for is one example.

jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

Why aren't the 3 you mention good examples?

voevoda 4 years, 2 months ago

Food safety.
Workplace safety. Higher education (post-baccalaureate).

voevoda 4 years, 2 months ago

And let's add health care for veterans.

deec 4 years, 2 months ago

Shipping documents and packages is usually cheaper at the post office.

Mike Wasikowski 4 years, 2 months ago

"1. Give individuals the same tax break business gets. As it is, I have to rack up $10,000 in health care costs before I can deduct any of that on my income taxes. Business gets to write-off the first dollar."

Agreed, though I don't come to the same conclusion you do. The first-dollar tax exclusion on employer health benefits is a big part of our health care inflation problem. Removing the exclusion entirely would put everyone on the same playing field and would drive health care spending down.

"2. Mandate that all pharmacies and health care providers publish on the web and post in their place of business the cost for all the goods and services they provide. Give consumers the information they need to shop for the best price (check out what happened after Florida did this a couple years ago)"

Agreed. About 60 Democrats sponsored or co-sponsored a bill in Congress last year that would have mandated all insurance companies and health care providers openly and conspicuously publish a list of their prices.

"3. Allow the sale of health insurance anywhere in the country."

If the point is to let people purchase health insurance using the benefits of the business's state rather than the beneficiary's state, I disagree. Marquette v. First of Omaha ruled that a state's anti-usury laws on interest rates could not be enforced against nationally chartered banks. As a result, South Dakota and Delaware repealed all of their anti-usury laws and attracted several corporations to those states; most credit cards are offered by banks incorporated in those states now, and credit cards went from a loss leader to a major source of profit for banks. If we allowed health insurance companies to sell across state lines using the business's state of incorporation for regulations on policies, I can guarantee a few states would repeal most or all of their regulations and companies would move to those states to sell policies that would bank them the most profit possible rather than to sell policies individuals want to purchase.

"4. End or deregulate state insurance commissions (aka monopolies) and allow the sale of health insurance products people want. End mandates that require certain coverage must be purchased. Let people buy what they want."

See above.

"Can you show me one example of the government providing a good or service cheaper, faster, or better than the private sector? Besides the court system, police and military, all I ask for is one example."

Actually, the VA health care system is cheaper per patient and provides a far higher quality of care than any private sector hospital.

reyz01a 4 years, 2 months ago

States have a right "duty" (Thomas Jefferson) to null and void unconstitutional laws. And for those of you who have posted that States do not have such a right, you may want to remember that just such a right was exercised by Wisconsin to nullify the Fugitive Slave Act (which the Supreme Court had adjudicated constitutional) of 1850.

The recent Federal District Court ruling of Judge Vinson clearly states that the Commerce Clause, as applied to this situation is not a valid Constitutional remedy.

You can read the entire brief here: http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=178879

And yes, States are sovereign and are able to nullify Federal laws that are not constitutional, since the Congress only has the power to pass laws that meet the Constitutional litmus test.

I know this is a subject that affects many lives, but if we are a nation of laws, then we are a nation of laws. If we are not, then, we are in for trouble.

jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

The question of constitutionality is up to the SC, as far as I know.

Vinson's opinion that the Commerce Clause is being incorrectly used is an opinion, and may be correct or incorrect. Much of the Constitution has to be interpreted, and our system sets up the SC as the ultimate interpreter.

Otherwise any state could simply substitute their own opinion/interpretation of the constitution.

jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

A quick search provided that nullification is "a legal theory" and that states' attempts to nullify federal laws have never been upheld.

Alyosha 4 years, 2 months ago

Hi. See this brief written by Idaho's attorney general which clearly demonstrates that, regardless of what one thinks of the issue, the actual state of the law in the United States is that states have no power to nullify an Act of Congress: http://media.idahostatesman.com/smedia/2011/01/25/13/11-35557_Response.source.prod_affiliate.36.pdf

Alyosha 4 years, 2 months ago

Former Reagan Solicitor General Charles Fried disagrees with you, reyza01a. He argued cases before the Supreme Court for the Reagan adminstration.

He says he is "quite sure that the health care mandate is constitutional": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UGQIk...

You might very well be more of an expert in constitutional law that Reagan's former Solicitor General. I don't personally know. Are you?

Betty Bartholomew 4 years, 2 months ago

Over the course of a year, between what I pay and what my employer pays, my health insurance company receives over $10,000 per year - they'll get even more after our baby is born and added to the insurance. Then there are co-pays when I see a doctor (usually once for my annual checkup. I see my dentist more often and that insurance is a lot cheaper), deductibles, and possibly co-insurance to meet, and those go up every year or so. As do the premiums. But the co's and deductible provisions allow insurance companies to keep more of my premium before using any of it to cover care, which irritates me.

Granted, I have good coverage, and a better deal on coverage than a lot of people. But I'm also on the lower end of the pay scale, and people that make more than I do pay more than I do. Considering there are a couple thousand employees where I work, covered $10k+ per year, insurance is making $20m+ per year off of our employer/employee base. Then they ask people they cover to pay extra (co's, deductibles) for the care they do receive, whether it's frequent or one visit per year, so that the insurance company can pay less (each year) out of their profit margin for care.

Here's the thing: I don't necessarily begrudge the insurance companies their profits (constantly rising premiums, co's, and deductibles aside). I'm going to be hugely happy to have insurance when the baby pops out and I only have to pay a fraction of the hospital bill.

What I begrudge the insurance companies is their constant whining about how they don't make enough money; how this demographic or another "forces" them to raise rates; and their political pandering about the uninsured being the scourge of society. I begrudge them their pre-existing condition clauses that keep people who need insurance from getting insurance because that care will cut into their considerable profits.

I begrudge them preying on people's fear of the unknown - I've seen my health care bills. Out of pocket is cheaper than insurance for most of it. The reason I keep it is because I just never know when something is going to happen and I'm going to wish I had it. But it should be my choice as to whether or not I have insurance.

The individual mandate portion needs to be stricken - people that can afford out of pocket expenses should be allowed to pay out of pocket if they choose not to have insurance. People that can't afford to have insurance shouldn't be punished.

However, health care reform is needed in the sense that the insurance companies are getting out of hand and shouldn't be allowed to lobby for things that benefit them first and patients second. It's needed in the sense that too many people who need it don't have insurance, can't afford insurance, and then can't afford the care they need when they need it. It's needed in the sense that my doctor shouldn't have to charge high prices to make up for the insurance they have to have.

Congress needs to find a better way to implement it.

Betty Bartholomew 4 years, 2 months ago

I have nothing against making money. I have something against multi-billion dollar industries whining that they don't make enough of it and acting like they're in danger of going belly-up at any second.

Mike Wasikowski 4 years, 2 months ago

You know how I know you've never read the entire law? Because Section 1332 of the law explicitly provides states with a way to get a waiver from the federal requirements (including that "tyrannical and socialist" individual mandate) if they design a plan that insures more people for less money. You want the state of Kansas to create its own exemption? Why aren't you on the phone with your state representative and senator telling them to design a plan that will garner us this precious exemption?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 2 months ago

Unions got the waivers because they have contracts that include health insurance benefits. In almost every case, they made concessions on wages and other benefits in order to get that insurance coverage (mostly because the corporations saw it as a better deal for them than giving higher wages/different benefits.) But the unions didn't want to have those benefits removed without being replaced by something of equal value.

I predict that as union contracts expire and come up for renegotiation, health insurance benefits will become a less prominent feature of the compensation packages, and probably eliminated altogether, which will then put union workers in the same position as everyone else in this country.

" But the whole corrupt process by which the Dems passed this travesty stinks to high heaven."

It's almost certainly a similar process to what the new Republican House will use. I bet you don't complain about that.

MyName 4 years, 2 months ago

What a waste of time. Why don't they pass an amendment to the Kansas Constitution enforcing term limits in Egypt while they're at it. That's exactly the effect it would have.

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 2 months ago

I'm still waiting for the answer to the question, "When did Kansas secede from the Union?" because if we're part of the New Confederacy I'm gettin' the heck outta Dodge. I have no intention of being around when the tanks roll in. An ignominious fate for a state that was deliberately designed to be pro Union.

usnsnp 4 years, 2 months ago

I am not a constitutional lawyer. I have only one question to ask, should not everyone in the United States have the same health care insurance that our Federal, State and Local politicians have at the same cost as they pay out of their pocket. Or should all the money taxpayers pay to cover these insurance plans be done away with until everyone in the United States has the same coverage. Everyone complains about people living off the tax payers, what do you think the Politicians do.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 2 months ago

"Health care reform probably is. Mandated health insurance probably isn't."

You know, my take on this is that most people are not really opposed to the Health Care Law, as they are against the black dude in the White House. I hear all sorts of bigoted and predjudiced crap from some of the local billy bobs and sally sues against the "Hawiian Kenyan Dude" and their favorite slur "Obamacare". The law was enacted by the U.S. Congress. It is Law. Kansas cannot opt out. That is the first lie that Kansas legislators are floating out.

But why should everyone NOT be required to have health insurance? If you have no insurance and go to the emergency room with a stroke or broken leg, will they refuse to treat you? No. They should. No business will perform their services for you without you either paying up front or having the means to do so. So why health care?

You are required to carry automobile insurance. If you do not, you cannot register your car. If you are stopped by police, you will be arrested. So why do you think you should not be required to have health insurance? Do you think I and others should pay for your medical expenses. You are always holloring about "socialism" although most of you do not know what that means. So why is not having medical insurance and depending on the taxpayers to pay your medical bills not your vision of "socialism"??

This whole sham that is being advanced by the Kansas Legislature is just another Republican scam to "diss" the "dude" in the White House. Every damned one of those legislators knows what they are doing is fruitless, except for the grandstanding it provides for the "Great Unwashed" and they are wasting time we pay them for to do this.

jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

I'm not generally described as conservative, and I didn't vote for Kobach or Brownback.

But, the question of whether the federal government requiring individuals to buy health insurance is an interesting constitutional one - the Commerce Clause wasn't designed to support that sort of thing.

If that's not enough to support it, what part of the constitution is?

Automobile insurance is required by states, not the federal government.

The fact that Congress passes a law doesn't guarantee it's constitutional, or will be upheld by the SC if they review it.

And, finally, I'm not racist, and I voted for Obama.

TheShaman 4 years, 2 months ago

"You know, my take on this is that most people are not really opposed to the Health Care Law, as they are against the black dude in the White House."

I don't know if that is the case or not, but I'm genuinely interested (and don't know the answer as I wasn't around here at that time) to know how people in these parts reacted to the Massachusetts health care laws passed back in '06.

"Individual mandate" seems to be the evil catch-phrase with the PPAC Act, the Massachusetts law contained just that. It was passed, and crafted, by a fiscally conservative Republican (who, to be fair opposes the PPAC Act), and at the time I seem to remember him being lauded for his efforts.

I realize there are big differences between the laws and we're comparing apples to oranges in terms of state vs. federal, but it seems to me that those most vocal about their disdain for the PPAC Act are claiming the "individual mandate" as one of the biggest issues. Did those clamoring for repeal have the same visceral reaction to the Massachusetts law? Or were they among those (Dem and Repub) singing its praises nationwide?

jafs 4 years, 2 months ago

Most folks around here probably didn't pay much attention to Massachusetts.

The constitutional question there would be whether the state has the right to mandate the purchase, which may have a different answer from whether the federal government has the same right.

How's Massachusetts doing with that system?

deec 4 years, 2 months ago

Imagine going into a store, any store, and buying, say a turnip. You go to the register to pay for the turnip. The cashier says "We'll just need a dollar deposit today on that turnip and we'll bill you for the rest." You say "How much is this turnip going to cost?" "Oh," the cashier says with a smile, "I can't tell you that! It depends on how long it took to process the turnip, which tests were done on the turnip, etc. It just depends on what the produce manager says." So you take your turnip and go home, awaiting the arrival of your bill., wondering how much that turnip will, ultimately, cost.

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