Archive for Thursday, February 23, 2012

Health Care Freedom Act’ falls one vote short of getting on November ballot

February 23, 2012


— A proposed state constitutional amendment aimed at challenging the federal health care reform law fell one vote short Thursday of getting on the November ballot.

The Kansas Senate voted 26-14 for the so-called Health Care Freedom Amendment but that was one vote less than the two thirds majority that is required to put propositions on the ballot.

State Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, who has been pushing for the amendment since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was approved in 2010, said the state constitutional amendment would protect Kansans.

"It prohibits government coercion to force people to be in a governmental health care system that they don't want to be part of," she said. "This relates to the liberty of Kansas citizens," she added.

But opponents said the amendment was disingenuous because the federal law will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"This is nothing more than, looks good, feels good," said state Sen. Tim Owens, R-Overland Park.

State Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, said state law can't trump federal law.

Others argued there was no reason to consider such an amendment since the U.S. Supreme Court has already decided to consider the disputed law, and is expected to issue a ruling as early as June.

State Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood, said it was unclear whether the language of the amendment could be construed to prohibit elderly Kansans from participating in Medicare. Pilcher-Cook denied that was the case.

The proposed amendment would have added a new section to the state constitution saying no law or rule shall force an individual or employer to buy health insurance — a challenge to the federal law’s requirement that most Americans purchase insurance, starting in 2014.

Six Republicans joined all eight Democrats to stop the measure.

The House adopted the proposed amendment last year.


Phillbert 6 years, 3 months ago

For now. Brownback and the Kochs are going to do their best to take over the state senate this year.

Greg Cooper 6 years, 3 months ago

Thank you, Senate dissenters. This is a harbinger of the hope we MIGHT have that the Brownback/Koch machine's cogs are not a well oiled as they thought. Keep at it, cooler heads!

Getaroom 6 years, 3 months ago

That would have worked out well for all of us here had you moved, but then you would have lost your conceal carry permit. You'd have been holster empty in a sea of criminals - GOP'ers that is.

tomatogrower 6 years, 3 months ago

Poor FHNC, you can't just go get your health care at the emergency room for free anymore. Less money for you blow on guns, and you might have to get a job.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 3 months ago

Good move; hang in there, Senators. We are counting on you to slow Muscular Sam down.

Bob Forer 6 years, 3 months ago

Sounds like Mary Pilcher-Cook flunked her sixth grade civics class. She clearly doesn't have a clue about how our Constitutional Democracy works, nor does she have any respect for the Constitution.

Just another ignorant right wing republican. Seems to be a lot of them in Kansas.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 3 months ago

Legislators might need to stay in Topeka everyday until the Brownback term is over to protect Kansas from Sam Brownback executive privilege/signings.

FlintlockRifle 6 years, 3 months ago

Maybe obama will come ""back"" to Kansas and be our next gov.

somedude20 6 years, 3 months ago

I heard he was going ""home"" to Kenya

Shelley Bock 6 years, 3 months ago

Why not include a provision that someone who has opted out of the national insurance opts out for their lifetime? They can purchase their own or go uninsured. In either case, when they require medical treatment, then they opt out of any subsequent public benefits or assistance. Doctors would be allowed to deny them care if they're unable to pay for treatment. If they have a bill that goes unpaid change, bankruptcy laws so that obligation is not exempt. Make certain that they pay their own way and not depend on their obligations being factored into the cost of those who have insurance.

We surely don't want those exercising their freedom and liberty to force those who have insurance to become their socialistic benefactors.

voevoda 6 years, 3 months ago

Maybe those who want to opt out of insurance will need to sign a non-revocable health care directive refusing any and all medical care that costs more than their available financial assets. In other words, join the "them" in "Let them die."

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 3 months ago

What is the GOP trying to protect kansans from?

College students staying on their parents insurance until age 25... Eliminating pre existing conditions denial of claims after 2014... equal access to affordable health insurance... Coverage for medicine... Coverage for preventative care...

Sounds like the boogie man to me.

At least the GOP isn't trying to deny access to birth control... At least the GOP isn't proposing that women who are raped be subjected to an invasive internal sonograms prior to obtaining an abortion...

Oh wait...the GOP is the party of IN YOUR FACE government.

JackMcKee 6 years, 3 months ago

This state is embarrassing in so many ways.

Kirk Larson 6 years, 3 months ago

"It prohibits government coercion to force people to be in a governmental health care system..."

Wouldn't have made any difference since the Affordable Health Care Act requires you to buy PRIVATE health insurance, not be part of a governmental health plan like Medicare or Medicaid.. Would have been different if we had a single payer system.

Greg Cooper 6 years, 3 months ago

And thank the Republican Party machine for that, as well. Wouldn't want anything to be simple or cost-efective, would we?

JackMcKee 6 years, 3 months ago

if Obama is for it, they're against it

William Weissbeck 6 years, 3 months ago

The GOPs in the legislature must be thankful that their health insurance covers their pre-existing condition of congenital stupidity.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 3 months ago

Yes. Sorta. It was a bill to place on the ballot an amendment to the state constitution. By the provisions of the constitution, itself, it can only be amended by popular vote.

JackMcKee 6 years, 3 months ago

These idiots should just go ahead and put a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot that says "Obama is not President. No law he signs is valid. Kansas secedes from the Union"

JackMcKee 6 years, 3 months ago

with an amendment that says "P.S. did you know, ahem, that he"

sourpuss 6 years, 3 months ago

But now I won't have the freedom to die of preventable diseases!

chootspa 6 years, 3 months ago

Well, we now now that just over one third of the senate is reasonable and sane.

chootspa 6 years, 3 months ago

I prefer to keep my silly votes on state constitutional amendments that don't actually change the law down to one per decade. We already double banned gay marriage, so now we can wait for another couple years to let everyone know we're grumpy about Romneycare.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 3 months ago

What is wrong is that state law CANNOT preemp federal law. It also is a distraction from the real issues of adequately funding education and state services.

chootspa 6 years, 3 months ago

Because it's not a vote on the healthcare bill. The healthcare bill, aka Romneycare Lite, already passed. It's a law now. There's a change the supremes could overthrow it, but that's the only way Kansans won't face fines for not abiding by the law. Changing the state constitution would do nothing to change that fact.

The only reason they wanted to put it on the ballot is an attempt to stir the base. The base being, in this case, easily mislead fools with no grasp of basic civics who think that this amendment would actually change anything. You know, the 29% of remaining Brownback fans.

overthemoon 6 years, 3 months ago

Now, if only Brownback had taken the 3 Million from the Feds to help develop our state system. But he threw it back and now we WILL have to do whatever the Federal Law demands. I don't have a problem with the ACA, but the folks who complain about 'being forced' to follow the law gave up the chance to do anything about it. Fools.

kochmoney 6 years, 3 months ago

Let's vote on making gravity non-binding in Kansas while we're at it.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 3 months ago

Unlike evolution which the radical right points out is just a theory, gravity is a law. Maybe the office of the repealer can repeal gravity...

Kevin Haislip 6 years, 3 months ago

spoilers! spend all your time trying to reverse the progress that's been made in the last three years. move on . there is nothing to gain by taking this path ! get on the band wagon . equality for all its a new world.

Liberty275 6 years, 3 months ago

The law has to go before the SCOTUS at some point because it's patently unconstitutional. We should help kick it up there if we can afford to. Right now we can't so it's example of the legislature trying to do the right thing at the wrong time with our money.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 3 months ago

By the way, I really really think the reps that voted for this need to study up on something called "nullification". Then they need to go ask the South how that went for them 150 years ago.

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