Archive for Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kansas Republicans push for rejection of federal health reform law

February 10, 2011, 9:39 a.m. Updated February 10, 2011, 3:44 p.m.


— Republicans argued Thursday that voting for a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at rejecting federal health reform was one of the most important actions legislators could take this session.

But Democrats said the measure was meaningless and somewhat deceitful.

The proposal was advanced in the House on a 93-26 vote with final action expected today.

The proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution says that no law or rule shall force an individual or employer to buy health insurance. A provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires most Americans to purchase health insurance starting in 2014.

Speaking to the House GOP caucus earlier Thursday, House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, said a vote for the proposal “is one of the most important statements that the House can make in 2011.”

O’Neal said Republican success in the 2010 election was a “referendum on the restoration of state’s rights” against Washington, D.C.

Many Democrats opposed the amendment, saying the state can’t nullify a federal law.

“I think we are misleading people,” said state Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield. He said the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually rule on the validity of the law based on the U.S. Constitution and not any changes to state constitutions.

State Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, defended the federal health reform law, saying that repealing it would have a devastating effect on millions of people who will be provided benefits.

She said sweeping reforms always generate opposition after they are passed, such as Social Security and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“If we had not passed that, where would our country be today?” she said.

But state Rep. John Rubin, R-Shawnee, and a former federal administrative judge, said the proposal was needed to protect the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which says that powers not granted to the federal government are reserved for the states.

“If anyone in Washington or Topeka can order a Kansan to buy anything, then the 10th Amendment is meaningless,” he said.

He said the federal government was dictating too much, including what kind of light bulbs can be used and how much water a toilet can flush.

Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate — 84 votes in the 125-member House and 27 votes in the 40-member Senate — before they can be placed on the ballot. Supporters of the provision want it on the ballot in November 2012.


tolawdjk 7 years, 2 months ago

""If anyone in Washington or Topeka can order a Kansan to buy anything, then the 10th Amendment is meaningless," he said."

Except a Voter ID card.

I think what State Rep. Rubin ment to say was "If anyone in Washington can order a Kansan to buy anything, then the 10th Amendment is meaningless."

Cause see, if the Constitution of the US doesn't say you have to do something, then that right is reserved to the state, and the state, should they decide to, -can- make you buy something. You know, the whole frackin premise why Romneycare is legal but Obamacare isn't?

I swear, if the legislature would just say to its collective self, "I'm not going to speak to the press today" then the public would only think that most of them are morons, and not have it confirmed that they are morons.

Crazy_Larry 7 years, 2 months ago

So I won't have to buy automobile insurance anymore?

notanota 7 years, 2 months ago

Of course you will! Everyone knows cars are far more important than people.

notanota 7 years, 2 months ago

Actually, it's just in order to avoid a tax penalty. You're free to live with the higher taxes.

gogoplata 7 years, 2 months ago

That is not freedom.
Would you like to buy government health insurance or would you like to pay higher taxes? The ability to say no to both is freedom.

notanota 7 years, 2 months ago

We pay taxes on food, and you also need it to live. You're can pick the food you want to pay taxes on, pay taxes on the seeds to grow food, or mooch off the food of someone else who has paid taxes on their food. Even when no sales tax is charged, the wages of the worker who sells you the food, the property of the owner, and the capital gains from the investors will likely all be taxed to some degree or another.

If you don't buy insurance, you cost the rest of us more in taxes/insurance premiums when you have a health issue you can't afford.

Calling it "not freedom" is convenient, I suppose, but there are many such limits to absolute freedom in this and most societies. It's hardly a "Help help, I'm being repressed" moment.

gogoplata 7 years, 2 months ago

A lot of good examples of too much government being in our lives. There are a lot of people drawing the line on this mandate from the federal government. This is a step in the direction of more individual liberty. It is good to see. I hope after this is defeated the people will decide they don't want the government taxing most of the things you listed above. The heavy hand of government is repressive.

notanota 7 years, 2 months ago

I'd suggest a private island or perhaps a secluded bit of land somewhere in Alaska and off the grid if you want to live out your Libertarian fantasy.

ronwell_dobbs 7 years, 2 months ago

So if there is ever a draft, I can choose not to participate? After all, the nutjobs are saying that Congress cannot regulate inaction.

sr80 7 years, 2 months ago

canada or prison are your choices!! serving your country and and having a mandate to purchase health insurance are hardly comparable.

Gary Anderson 7 years, 2 months ago

you pay every time someone without insurance seeks medical attention...

jafs 7 years, 2 months ago

If that's true, why do you think they do that?

Kim Murphree 7 years, 2 months ago

State's rights...I thought we were a JAYHAWKER state and came in against States' rights in the Civil War---but besides that....spending $$$$$ on this when you are cutting funds to Kansas Schools and Social Services is irresponsible. Not only that...there is no proposal on the table to offer a solution that would cover those who need health care the most....I am not satisfied that there are poor elderly who have to choose between health care and food...that's ridiculous. Moreover, I am NOT convinced that those who are making this argument really give a "hoot" about "states' rights," and the only solution they ever talk about is capping lawsuit awards...which is yet ANOTHER way to protect insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies--because of course THOSE are the people who need protection from the masses. Mark my words, gas prices will soar, medical prices will soar, education prices will soar, and there will be no middle class in America any more, just poor, working poor, dying poor, and the rich! But that's ok...because the U.S. will still have the "best health care" in the world--whether people can access it or not.

Gary Anderson 7 years, 2 months ago

I know people who choose between medicine and food every day...

Thunderdome 7 years, 2 months ago

Geez, here we go again...government bad-free market good. The primary reason cars are safer now is because of government standards. Are cars a little more expensive because of it? Yes, probably. But it also saves lives. If the Wall Street meltdown in 2008 didn't indicate to you what a lack of regulation will yield, I don't know what will. Or the BP oil spill for that matter...a clear example of private enterprise run ammock. Successful economies are built on a logical balance of free enterprise, regulation, and even a bit of socialism (think roads, schools...not the old East German type of socialism). Completely unregulated healthcare would be an unmitigated disaster.

Thunderdome 7 years, 2 months ago

Don't talk down to me. Your arrogance writes checks your brain can't cash. The bubble was only one small part of the problem. The other problem was the unregulated nature of a series of new "financial products", namely those pesky bundled sub-prime loans. YOU are ignorant if you think it was solely inflated asset values. And if you think it was all on the federal reserve, you really need to study the situation. Did the federal reserve make those loans? Did the federal reserve bundle them? The answer of course is no. It was a bunch of greedy UNREGULATED charlatans who should have been prosecuted. But the great and wise LibertyOne couldn't think to step outside its libertarian comfort zone to contemplate a good mix of ideologies as a method of governing a complex democracy. Stop equating free market capitalism with democracy and you might better understand the role of government. Government isn't what you think it should be, it's what WE make it.

notanota 7 years, 2 months ago

They capped lawsuits in McAllen Texas, and it didn't prevent the area from having some of the most expensive per person health expenses in the world.

notanota 7 years, 2 months ago

They capped lawsuits in McAllen Texas, and it didn't prevent the area from having some of the most expensive per person health expenses in the world.

Keith 7 years, 2 months ago

I don't know if they ever mention it in the articles about McAllen, but that whole corridor from Brownsville to McAllen is populated by what they call Winter Texans, elderly folks escaping the cold. They consume vast amounts of health care.

notanota 7 years, 2 months ago

They consume vast amounts of healthcare, but they also spend about twice the national average, per enrollee, in Medicare. It's not just that there are old people. It's that there are old people paying more for their healthcare and not getting better outcomes in return.

Gary Anderson 7 years, 2 months ago

you know...I hated no child left behind of the previous administration...but when I spoke against it I seldom referenced the president...gee...I wonder why you people make it so personal...can't think of anything...hmmmm

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 2 months ago

"Democrats oppose the amendment, saying the state can't nullify a federal law. They say the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually rule on the validity of the law based on the U.S. Constitution and not any changes to state constitutions"

And the Democrats are correct. And the Republicans making this stink are wrong.

A state cannot opt out of Federal Law. I know the wing nuts do not like this and think if they say it enough times, it might happen, but they are wasting the paid time they have as elected officials with this and every citizen of the state should be offended by the behavior. Every s- called "conservative" wants to evict the "Hawaiian Dude" from the White House and cannot stand that this cannot be done until election day (if then). They worship at the feet of Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck and chafe to give lip service to these idiots.

Gary Anderson 7 years, 2 months ago

Your blatant disrespect for the POTUS is so telling...along with using phrases like "socialist power grab".

ronwell_dobbs 7 years, 2 months ago

Apparently you were busy praying during Civics class. The Republicans can't use reconciliation because they do not control the Senate. If they could persuade Senator Reed to bring it up under reconciliation rules then it might pass as you stated, but even that would be doubtful. So I'm afraid you're going to have to sit and suck on it because you did not win the Senate. Elections have consequences.

Kontum1972 7 years, 2 months ago

mb the president of egypt can ...float us some gold bullion ...i think he has plenty.....better hurry b4 Thursday....he might be heading to italy or crete...

Victor Dawson 7 years, 2 months ago

Why isn't anyone ever talking about how much it cost the average tax payer to already pay for the uninsured? Instead, we continue to play politics with an issue that is very serious. We know through past practices that people who don't have insurance will eventually go to the ER and the bill will generally be written off to the government for payment. Where do you think that money comes from? Ding, Ding, winner winner chicken dinner: "The American Tax Payer picks up the tab!" How many of you that are complaining about the mandate already have insurance? If you do, why are you complaining? If you don't, how many of you can afford the ER bill?

sr80 7 years, 2 months ago

i guess all the illegals pay for their care,since you didn't mention that.

geekin_topekan 7 years, 2 months ago

..and where are all these doctors to take care of the 30 or 40 million new patients? Grenada? +++ You really believe that there will be 40million strong bums rush to the nearest doctor's office? Maybe of everyone of Faux News' viewers were to get off of their couch at once, this could happen.

Crysalis 7 years, 2 months ago

Are these idiotic Right Wingers going to fight the Civl War all over again?

We settled that Fed vs. States rights thingy then. Remember General Sherman burned Atlanta down and marched to the sea? Jefferson Davis is not on our 50 dollar bill?

The South lost. More righties looking backwards?

sr80 7 years, 2 months ago

wouldn't that be a hell of a civil war, pro-health against anti- health states!!!! i say just let our politicians have fistacuffs like the koreans do.

justsayin 7 years, 2 months ago

EXACTLY!!! Too many people are concerned they might pay for something for someone who doesn't work as hard as they do. What they don't understand is they are probably already paying more for those people because the less fortunate go to the ER instead of the regular doctor's office because they have no insurance/money and it is the only place they will receive care.

There are MANY people who work very hard each day but have medical conditions which require very costly medications. Working hard doesn't necessarily give you the funds you need to cover those costs.

ronwell_dobbs 7 years, 2 months ago

Again, you must be describing the environment on your planet. Federal law trumps State law in every single case. If there is a question then the Supreme Court of the United States will make the determination. At that point, and only at that point, is the law nullified. It is never the prerogative of a State to make a determination as to the unconstitutionality of a law.

Peacemaker452 7 years, 2 months ago

Please tell us what section of the Constitution you are relying on for your argument, I can’t seem to find it in there anywhere.

gudpoynt 7 years, 2 months ago

You can find the "Supremacy Clause" in Article VI, Clause 2.


Peacemaker452 7 years, 2 months ago

Gudpoynt says: “Next?” Really, that is all you have. You can’t honestly think that the issue is that simple.

You mean this clause, right? “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

That is a pretty good partial answer, but it doesn’t cover the whole issue being discussed.

This section; “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof” says that the laws must be made pursuant to the Constitution to be the “supreme Law of the Land”.

Who gets to decide whether laws are pursuant? Now you are going to say “The Supreme Court, of course” and then I will ask where in the Constitution it says that. Guess what, you will not find it, but you probably already knew that, didn’t you?

Since the Constitution does not give any part of the federal government the power to decide what is pursuant, we go to these sections, which you conveniently ignored: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” “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.”

Since the Constitution does not address the issue of deciding what is pursuant, the power must belong to the States, or the people.

If you actually read the history of the drafting of the Constitution and the writing of the founders you cannot, with any intellectual honesty, stand on the idea that they left the federal government as its own arbitrator of the limits imposed by the Constitution.

gudpoynt 7 years, 2 months ago

yeah... but it's the

"...shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

thing that I'm referring to. What say you?

tolawdjk 7 years, 2 months ago

Federal does not trump State law in every single case. Many times, if a State has more stringent laws than the Federal standard, the State law is the controlling interest.

California is usually the leading example of this, for good or ill. I think thier HIPPA laws are more stringent than the federal law.

cayenne1992 7 years, 2 months ago

So are some of their environmental regulations, but it typically trumps state laws that contradict federal laws. More stringent regulations don't necessarily contradict federal law.

gudpoynt 7 years, 2 months ago


state law CANNOT trump federal law. Period. In EVERY case. State law can exact more restrictions on top of a federal law, but they can't undermine it.

try again.

gudpoynt 7 years, 2 months ago

LO - Only by cessation, but that has other ramifications than just repealing a single law, as I'm sure you know

William Weissbeck 7 years, 2 months ago

I've put this challenge out on many blogs, but no one's come up with a better alternative. Devise a system that provides for the working uninsured, the unemployed but seeking employment (in other words, not the poor), those in between jobs, those denied health insurance or faced with unfordable premiums because of pre-existing conditions, and those who are self employed or employed by small employers access to the same or nearly the same insurance plans and costs as those provided by governments and large employers to their workers. Or in the alternative, provide the economic justification for our current system which treats similarly situated individuals differently because of who they work for and the health status of the risk pool to which they belong.

gudpoynt 7 years, 2 months ago

"The balance can be covered only durin typhoon season in Bangladesh the 3rd Thursday of odd months between the hours of 7:30 am to 6:15 pm"

Well... I stand corrected.

Good point krush!

And now come let's hear what the constituency says?...

William Weissbeck 7 years, 2 months ago

I'm not sure how to interpret your post. You aren't serious that COBRA is a long term solution for the unemployed and those in between jobs? Given what full cost (full ride) health insurance premiums cost these days (a fact that most workers are utterly and recklessly clueless about), COBRA premiums are often unaffordable to the recently unemployed. COBRA is practical when there is a fluid and vibrant job market (something we don't have now) and for workers actually in new jobs where employer provided health insurance has a waiting period.

Thunderdome 7 years, 2 months ago

The healthcare bill isn't perfect, but until someone on the right does something other than bitch about it and shout disrespectful crap about the POTUS, our state should back it's implementation and not waste our precious tax dollars on frivolous efforts to circumvent it.

Richard Payton 7 years, 2 months ago

Who said the Fed's would cover the ER cost with Obamacare. Those Fed's might have a solution to high cost insurance "RAISE TAXES". Would those high risk Obamacare policy holders be given a refund if the Supreme Court X's this idea? I don't have any answer's or solutions just cold fingers and toes.

Victor Dawson 7 years, 2 months ago

The government already allows hospitals to write-off care that patients can't pay in the ER. Has nothing to do with Obamacare, it has always been healthcare practice.

Shelley Bock 7 years, 2 months ago

I agree with the posters who clarify that we who have health insurance already pay for coverage for those who don't have insurance or the funds to pay off their obligations.

How about this idea....Everyone makes a selection on a specific date; you opt into the program or out. if you're out, you're out for ever. Can't get back into the system whatsoever. Have an accident, contract a condition, whatever, it's on your tab. If you can't pay for it, sorry, that's your Constitutional right to suffer. Doctors and hospitals could legally decline services.

On the other hand, as long as you comply with the provisions of the law, you get services covered. You can't be rejected for pre-existing conditions. You're always covered.

Then, we can see two classes of people, a fullfillment of the Constitution as envisioned by Liberty_One. Don't pay, opt out and die. The American dream.

Thunderdome 7 years, 2 months ago

I have no problem with that if republicans promise to stop bitching about it. It would be kind of ironic though since the lion's share of people who pay zero taxes are either low income social republicans or ultra-rich lying cheating fiscal republicans. But again, happy to pay if you all agree to shut up about it and stop using the term Obamacare. The act was passed by Congress, not the POTUS.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 2 months ago

Something to consider; if Kansas chooses to do this and gets away with it the Feds can and will pull the plug on all kinds of financing the state receives from the Feds. The state will lose dollars for Medicaid and Healthwave. Heck we could even lose highway funding. You think our state deficit is bad now? just wait until the feds pull all of their funding from us. If you think that's not possible just remember what happened when the Feds lowered the speed limit on Interstates to 55.

Daniel Dicks 7 years, 2 months ago

They won't get away with it. It is all political theater to make their right wing constituents happy. "Nullification" didn't work in the sixties, and it won't now. But it does give hope to the racists that don't want black people coming to their businesses.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 2 months ago

Two word merrill posts make me uncomfortable.

Like bozo making even a little sense.

Or defender complimenting someone.

Or people AGREEING with me!! Yikes.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 2 months ago

"Vietnam vet Ronald Flanagan has been battling cancer for more than two years. Two weeks ago, Flanagan was getting prepped for a bone biopsy at the local Exempla Rock Creek Medical Center. But at the last minute, his wife called the hospital and told them to stop the procedure because she had just received notice that they no longer have insurance. The reason why? The couple had accidentally underpaid their insurer by two pennies and it decided to drop them from their plan."

Yep, the "system" the way it is has no problems at all and of course the majority of the people really want no changes, right?

SinoHawk 7 years, 2 months ago

Obamacare did nothing to change the situation that you described. The healthcare system clearly has severe faults, which is why so many were pushing Congress for action. The problem is that the cure was worse than the disease.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 2 months ago

Actually there are provisions in the legislation to prevent carriers from dropping patients for "frivolous" reasons. This would definitely fall in that category.

Carol Bowen 7 years, 2 months ago

I thought the legislature had to identify funds to pay for their legislation? Where is the money to pay for putting this issue one the ballot? How much will it cost?

Mike Ford 7 years, 2 months ago

I simply love the volume of idiots. I lived in the South from 1975 to 1982, and you'd think every aowg (angryoldwhiteguy) was ready to put the stars and bars on and rise again. Sorry, Archie Bunkers, just because you watch Chalkboard buddha and listen to pillboy doesn't mean you know anything because you don't. This is fight for the right to be ragingly stupid. The rest of the world watches our dummies scream for state's raits. Again, you lost the civil war, you lost segregation, and you're stil in denial. Anyone heard of the Supremacy Clause? Native Americans know all to well about it. It how y'all got FREE LAND.

pace 7 years, 2 months ago

If they manage to un-reform health care, the next necessary step will be to change the law that emergency rooms have to take you. They close state hospitals and refer the patients to community settings, then close community settings. What can they do? No money, they invested it in economic adventure and it mysteriously disappeared.

cowboy 7 years, 2 months ago

Might want to talk to some of the new congressmen who declined federal health care....

" But talk to some of the 16 freshman lawmakers who have declined their government health benefits, and you’ll hear a different side of the story — about tough out-of-pocket expenses, pre-existing conditions and support for health reforms that would help those who struggle with their coverage. As they venture into the free market for health insurance, these lawmakers — many of whom swept into office fueled by tea party anger over the health care law — are facing monthly premiums of $1,200 and fears of double-digit rate hikes.

The experience has caused some of them to think harder about the “replace” part of the “repeal and replace” mantra the GOP has adopted regarding the health care law....

“I can simply, honestly say that this is going to impact my wife and I to a fairly serious degree, like it would any average American out there,” said first-time Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois.

Walsh’s wife has a pre-existing condition and will need a procedure in the coming months, but because he declined federal benefits, they’re paying for it out of pocket. Meanwhile, Walsh is contributing to a health savings account to cover his expenses.

“It’s a cost we will feel, a cost I will have to pick up. I won’t turn down benefits because I have something to fall back on or because I’m independently wealthy,” he said....

Now that Republicans have made good on their pledge to repeal the health care law, some of them are already feeling pressure to offer policy solutions that would address the problems in the insurance market — ones that the new members, having declined benefits, should have some experience with.

One new Republican House member, Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, recently told a local TV program that he needed a commitment from GOP leaders that they’d offer their own health care proposals before he voted to repeal the Democrats’ bill.'

mr_right_wing 7 years, 2 months ago

What a horrifying nightmare election night 2012 could be for libs & dems.

They lose their Savior, and this issues passes (if it appears on the ballot.)

It's a fairly safe bet though that our city will be ready to hit us with some new sales or property tax, take comfort in that. (it's only a few more cents!!) (It's only a few more cents!!) (It's only a few more cents!!) (It's only a few more cents!!) (It's only a few more cents!!) (It's only a few more cents!!) (It's only a few more cents!!) (It's only a few more cents!!) (It's only a few more cents!!)

jafs 7 years, 2 months ago

A quick search on nullification will show that it's a "legal theory", and that state attempts to nullify have never been upheld.

I don't know the history of exactly how it happened, or the precise justification found in the Constitution, but the US Supreme Court is the place at which ultimate interpretation of constitutionality happens.

It isn't a perfect system, but allowing individual states to determine constitutionality is fraught with pitfalls as well - then we could have 50 different interpretations of the constitution, and the protections it offers to all citizens could be seriously undermined.

For example, a state could interpret "unreasonable search and seizure" in such a way as to allow for ridiculously invasive police procedure.

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