Topeka Americans for Prosperity has distributed a postcard to tens of thousands of Republicans that accuses a group of Republican state Senate incumbents, who are running for re-election, of siding with "ObamaCare." But the candidates say the postcard is false.
In the postcard, AFP criticizes the Affordable Care Act, saying it will increase taxes and spending, while cutting Medicare. Supporters of the act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama, dispute those assertions, and major provisions of the ACA were recently ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision.
Then the piece says, "Unhappy that Obama and five Supreme Court justices are forcing you to accept ObamaCare? Thank Steve Morris. He voted to restrict Kansans' right to opt-out of ObamaCare if the law was upheld. Steve Morris' vote prevented you from having the option to say NO to Obama's radical agenda."
Morris, the Senate president from Hugoton, is one of eight Republican candidates targeted by the mailer. The piece has also been delivered to GOP voters in the districts of Pete Brungardt of Salina, Jean Schodorf of Wichita, Tim Owens of Overland Park, Dwayne Umbarger of Thayer, Roger Reitz of Manhattan, Ruth Teichman of Stafford and Vicki Schmidt of Topeka. All of them are in contested races in the Aug. 7 Republican Party primary.
In response, Morris stated: "… a look at the voting record will show that every Republican in the Kansas Senate voted against Obamacare by passing the Kansas Health Care Freedom Act and is standing in direct opposition to the President’s healthcare plan."
The Kansas Health Care Freedom Act was approved by the Legislature in 2011. It said residents have the right to refuse to buy health insurance. The federal health reform law says that in 2014 most Americans will have to have health insurance.
But Americans for Prosperity's beef is with a vote by Morris and the other seven senators during the recently completed legislative session.
The Kansas House had earlier approved a health care freedom measure in the form of a constitutional amendment to be put on the November ballot.
But during debate in the Senate in February, state Sen. Terrie Huntington, R-Fairway, offered a change to the proposed constitutional amendment that essentially said if the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, then the proposed state constitutional amendment would not be submitted to the voters. Supporters of Huntington's measure said it would be a waste of taxpayer dollars to have a vote on the issue if the Supreme Court had already ruled.
Morris and the other seven senators targeted by AFP voted for the Huntington amendment, and it passed. Then when the proposed constitutional amendment came up for final passage, it fell short by one vote to get the required two-thirds majority to be placed on the ballot.
Derrick Sontag, state director of the AFP, says even with the Supreme Court ruling, Kansans deserved an opportunity to vote on the Affordable Care Act because there will continue to be efforts to repeal it.
Morris asked the public not to be deceived by what AFP was saying. He called AFP a Virginia-headquartered, special interest group.
Sontag said all the money raised for the mailers came from Kansas. As a tax-exempt "social welfare" organization, AFP does not have to disclose its donors. The organization was founded by Charles and David Koch who run Kansas-based Koch Industries.