Archive for Saturday, September 24, 2011

Affordable Care Act can’t seem to get traction in Kansas

September 24, 2011


— “Obamacare was not popular in Kansas,” Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer told legislators last week in explaining various reasons why Gov. Sam Brownback rejected a $31.5 million federal grant to set up a system required by the Affordable Care Act.

That could be the understatement of the year as far as the Kansas Legislature and Brownback go.

As a U.S. senator, Brownback, a Republican, voted against the ACA that was signed into law by President Barack Obama. As a candidate for governor, Brownback argued for its repeal.

And as governor, he has pushed for a legal challenge of the reform law, signed legislation passed by the Legislature aimed at neutralizing it in Kansas and has now moved administratively against it.

Many Republicans in the Legislature say they hope for the end of the ACA either through a U.S. Supreme Court decision or a GOP victory in the next year’s presidential election.

State Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia, said, “It was a political decision to pass” the law, and she said a political decision may kill it, noting next year’s congressional and presidential elections.

The $31.5 million “early innovator” grant rejected by Brownback was for Kansas to implement a health insurance exchange. Under the ACA, the exchanges are to be used by individuals and small businesses to shop for health insurance. The exchanges are required to be in place by 2014, and the grant would have allowed Kansas to develop the model that could have been used by other states.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger said many who oppose the ACA — on both the right and left — hope it will fail and see “anything done to facilitate (the law) could undermine the lawsuits.”

But Praeger, a Republican, and many Democrats say the ACA is the law of the land and planning should be going on now to implement it.

Praeger has refuted the administration’s claims in turning down the grant.

Brownback and Colyer have said there were too many strings attached to the grant. But Praeger said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has accommodated states, asking them to come forward with ideas and recommendations.

Colyer also said that the exchange would be determining whether end-of-life treatments were too costly. Praeger said that wasn’t true.

Praeger said regardless of one’s opinion on the ACA, “This is a private-insurance approach to make the private-insurance market work. If the law does go away, we still have a dysfunctional health insurance system that we have to fix.”

While polls indicate the public is divided on the Affordable Care Act, supporters of the law say most people agree with its various components, such as prohibitions on pre-existing condition exclusions for children, extended access to insurance for young adults and prohibitions on lifetime dollar limits in health plans.

Despite Brownback’s rejection of the grant, Praeger continues to do the planning work for the exchange. But when asked if she was trying to do an end-run around the Legislature to install a health insurance exchange, she said, “That would be impossible and I wouldn’t want to do it anyway.”


Maddy Griffin 6 years, 8 months ago

Such a shame. It's already starting to bring down costs. But I guess that cuts into the profits for the Kochs.

WilburNether 6 years, 8 months ago

"It's already starting to bring down costs?"

Really? How?

How about some proof of what appears to be a blind, foolish assertion?

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 8 months ago

As I've said before, this is part of the ideological extremist right's "Great Leap Backward" and their "cultural revolution." They don't bother with facts. They just make up 20 second marketing snipets to confuse people whose neurons don't fire at full speed...

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 8 months ago

I guess it turns out some people are 100% satisfied with the US health care system.

chootspa 6 years, 8 months ago

I know. Some people actually look at data from other countries and stuff to form that conclusion. Can you believe it?

Richard Payton 6 years, 8 months ago

Colyer also said the exchange would determine end-of-life treatments were too costly. Praeger said that wasn't true. Which person is correct?

verity 6 years, 8 months ago

Who do you think has studied the matter? Who generally seems to be rooted in reality rather than that alternate universe?

RiverCityJules 6 years, 8 months ago

Praeger is. Colyer is resorting to scare tactics on this one. The text of the preliminary regulations attached to the Early Innovator Grant that Brownback rejected does not prohibit drastic end-of-life care, nor does it stop a physician from providing care any more or any less than private insurance companies currently do. While insurers can limit payment, they cannot limit treatment, just like it is now. There are plenty of issues to debate; this is not one of them.

William Weissbeck 6 years, 8 months ago

Although Colyer is wrong - we do have to face reality. For the average person, they are likely to spend most of their lifetime health care dollars in their last 6 months of life. Because this is most likely Medicare, is this something we can continue to afford?

deec 6 years, 8 months ago

It is disturbing that the gang running Kansas seems to feel they can opt out of federal and state laws, such as the Affordable Care Act, labor laws, women's health care laws, contract bidding laws, welfare laws, etc.

verity 6 years, 8 months ago

Yes, it is. Didn't they swear to uphold the law when they took office? Is it even legal to sabotage the law?

Where's the legal minds on this? Haven't seen edbyrdstarr in awhile.

Can we the people sue them?

Mike1949 6 years, 8 months ago

And all this is new to you? They have been doing it for years. Republicans has made Kansas a joke, a poor one at that!

jhawkinsf 6 years, 8 months ago

In California, it's the Democrats in charge and they routinely ignore a wide variety of federal laws. If it's the principle of the matter that concerns you, is one different than the other?

pace 6 years, 8 months ago

Brownback is willing to twist and even ignore to law to protect and serve his people, the Koch brothers.

voevoda 6 years, 8 months ago

Maybe Brownback, Colyer, and co. will succeed in driving Sandy Praeger out of the Republican Party. Then she can run for governor as a Democrat and we'll have someone sensible in office.

Daniel Dicks 6 years, 8 months ago

Sounds like a good idea. I'd vote for her.

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

It might be better, ie. more plausible, for her to run against Brownback in the Republican primaries, and get elected that way.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.