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Archive for Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Measure aims to cut Kansas out of health overhaul

February 18, 2014, 9:40 a.m. Updated February 18, 2014, 3:28 p.m.

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— Kansas Republicans who loathe the federal health care overhaul have embraced a national movement aimed at helping states opt out of its requirements, but backers conceded Tuesday that the effort depends on a power shift in Congress.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach and two GOP legislators urged the House Federal and State Affairs Committee to pass a bill bringing Kansas into a compact among states to assert control over health care policy within their borders. The committee could vote on the measure later this week.

"You would be able to address the specific medical care needs of Kansans instead of having to labor under the regulations established by a one-size-fits-all bureaucracy in Washington," Kobach, a former law professor, told the committee.

But the compact can't take effect without congressional approval, and supporters acknowledged that's unlikely with President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate.

"It is a frivolous measure that does nothing at best and at worst puts seniors, Kansans with disabilities and children at risk," David Wilson, a spokesman for AARP's Kansas chapter, told the committee.

Eight other states have enacted similar laws, including Missouri and Texas, according to Competitive Governance Action, the Houston-based group advocating the interstate compact. The group says on its website that "consolidated power" in Washington is a threat to the nation, and it also favors repealing the amendment to the U.S. Constitution permitting a federal income tax.

The group and other compact supporters are pushing the idea because congressional ratification of the interstate agreement wouldn't require the president's signature.

The compact language is broad enough that the states could seek to exempt themselves from federal rules regarding Medicaid, which provides health coverage for the needy and disabled, and Medicare, which provides coverage for the elderly.

Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee Chairwoman Mary Pilcher-Cook, a Shawnee Republican, said the compact, if approved by Congress, would allow states to "simply rewind the clock" on health care policy. Because Congress would consent to the compact, member states still would receive federal health care funds.

The other lawmaker pushing the bill, Rep. Brett Hildabrand, also a Shawnee Republican, told the committee: "The topic of health care is too large and too complex of an issue for a cookie-cutter approach to be applied broadly across the nation. That is why health care needs to be addressed at the state level."

Supporters of the federal law, including Obama, argue that it's helping Americans find affordable health coverage, but GOP lawmakers in Kansas and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback have been highly critical. They view the law's mandates as burdensome, harmful to the economy and an overreaching extension of federal power.

The antipathy of GOP state officials has kept Kansas from expanding its Medicaid program as encouraged by the overhaul or setting up its own online health insurance marketplace. Kansas also enacted a largely symbolic "health care freedom" law at Pilcher-Cook's urging in 2011 to protest the federal overhaul's mandate that most Americans purchase health insurance.

Many Kansas Republicans had predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court would overturn the law; instead, a majority of justices upheld most of it in 2012. GOP critics of the overhaul then pinned their hopes on Obama losing re-election, but he won a second term.

Rep. Valdenia Winn, a Kansas City Democrat who is skeptical of the latest proposal, said promises that a compact would allow Kansas to assert control over health care policy are "speculative."

"All these are dreams," she said.

Comments

Larry Sturm 8 months ago

Most regressive governor and congress Kansas has ever had. BROWNBACK AND THE REPUBLICAN CONGRESS BAD FOR KANSAS.

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Melinda Henderson 8 months ago

So when there's an article about a bill in the House or Senate, could you PLEASE identify the bill by number? Thank you.

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Beth Ennis 8 months ago

Good old Brownback and his cronies are doing their best to continue to punish the poor and elderly citizens of Kansas. How very sad that so many people will fall for all of this propaganda.

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Phillip Chappuie 8 months ago

Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee Chairwoman Mary Pilcher-Cook, a Shawnee Republican, said the compact, if approved by Congress, would allow states to "simply rewind the clock". I guess so, how far back would you like to go? How about before federal income tax? How about back, to say, 1890 and the robber barons were in full control. The best thing that can happen to Kansas is to rid itself of the Kobachs and Pilcher Cooks. Backward thinking at its finest. These losers in Topeka won't be happy until poor people are starving in the streets. Sam's Roadmap for Kansas, leading the way in child poverty.

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Cait McKnelly 8 months ago

The truly BEST thing for Kansas would be to rid itself of the Kochs.

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Richard Heckler 8 months ago

If Sam Brownback despises the Federal Government so why did he spend so many years in Washington D.C.? on the government payroll?

Sam Brownback and associates have never seen a government payroll check they did not like.

Sam Brownback helped put more than 20 million out of work while living in WashingtonD.C. all those years. He has done a repeat performance as governor.

This Brownback medical insurance fiasco is all about making the insurance industry more profit than ever before.

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Armen Kurdian 8 months ago

the entire law needs to be repealed before it wrecks our health care system and bankrupts us. Your disaster scenario is going to come true under the ACA.

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Richard Heckler 8 months ago

http://alecexposed.org/w/images/f/f2/ALEC_on_Health_Care.pdf http://theunitedstatesofalec.org/files/2012/09/USofALEC_FactSheet_Privatization.pdf

ALEC's Privatizing Medicare, Medicaid, and Other Programs to Aid Americans’ Health

• ALEC’s “Resolution Urging Congress to Create Private Individual Medical Accounts” proposes to privatize Medicare by permitting the creation of individual medical accounts. It is doubtful that such accounts would be able to cover the cost of necessary medical care for seniors, and this bill would probably serve as a tax shelter for the wealthiest few.

• ALEC’s “Resolution to End State-Enabled Newborn Testing Monopolies” urges state legislators to rescind laws and regulatory authority that have made state agencies the providers of clinical laboratory services to detect treatable disorders in newborns.

• ALEC’s “Elimination of Non-Federally Mandated Benefits” would prohibit a state from providing medical services in their Medicaid programs that are not mandated by the federal government. This means that states that provide Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to the working poor that are slightly above the poverty level to cut their programs back to the federal minimum, and throw poor children out of Medicaid/CHIP protections. In addition, pregnant women could also be thrown out of Medicaid or have reduced benefits.

• ALEC’s “Access to Medicaid Act” replaces the Medicaid system with a voucher system, where participants receive a voucher to purchase insurance from for-profit corporations, and ALEC’s “Optional Medicaid Benefits Evaluation Act” seeks to limit a state’s ability to expand healthcare offerings to its low-income residents.

Opposing Health Care Reform

• ALEC’s “Guide to Repeal Obamacare” would repeal the Affordable Care Act, which in return would result in the following: o The 2.5 million young adults who were allowed to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26 would lose their coverage o Insurance companies could once again retroactively cancel your coverage when you get sick if they find minor errors on your application o The 54 million people who, thanks to the ACA, had access to preventive care without co-pay, coinsurance or deductibles would once again have to pay out of pocket for their colonoscopies, cholesterol screenings, mammograms and other services.
o Insurance companies will be free to deny coverage to adults and children with pre-existing conditions, and to charge women more than men.

• ALEC’s “Resolution Opposing Employer-Paid Health Care Mandates” opposes efforts by states to mandate that private employers buy health insurance for their employees.

• ALEC’s “Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act” would prohibit the legislature from requiring individuals to purchase health insurance pursuant to federal health reform.

http://alecexposed.org/w/images/f/f2/ALEC_on_Health_Care.pdf

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Steve King 8 months ago

We've already seen their success with KanCare. The private for profit providers are not paying their bills and Hospitals and Health Care Providers are not taking KanCare patients now.

Heaven help us if they get absolute power to do as they wish.

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Chris Scafe 8 months ago

Keep your government hands off of my Obamacare!

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Richard Heckler 8 months ago

Imagine if the Koch brothers controlled congress and all state legislatures. USA would be exactly like Russia,China,Iraq and Nazi Germany. After all the Koch brothers are John Birchers.

The country will be controlled by ALEC legislation written up in secret meetings.

The Koch brothers have spent $8.2 million alone thus far on their conservative North Carolina Senate Race.

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Larry Sturm 8 months ago

The ACA is a federal law the state cannot trump a federal law unless it has been determined to let it do so.

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William Weissbeck 8 months ago

So then if the Congress again comes into Democratic control and they reverse the state compact, or if Kansas elects a Democratic governor (not so far fetched is it?), and chooses to withdraw from some compact - do we really need this much uncertainty and periodic change and challenges to our laws? Lesson to GOP - the law passed, the other guy got re-elected - spend some time working within that framework and make it better. I have followed government and politics since LBJ and Nixon. Many people said, many mean things about both these presidents. Demonstrations were had, flags were burned. But in all of that, among our elected officials, there was never a take no prisoners approach to governing. Both sides wanted to make things work. Neither side was trying to make it impossible to govern.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 months ago

The Koch Regime Kansas Government is tilting at windmills again. This is yet another stab at the hated and despised black dude in the White House by the bogots and prejudiced members of the Kansas Government.

Kris Kobach has made his position crystal clear by his multi state effort to prevent people from voting who might vote Democratic. This effort to deny poeple the right to good health care coverage (that the Republicans could never provide) is well in line with his crusade to make Kansas the total nemisis of the nation with it's ignorant and bigoted position against anything that the Federal Government does including the return of Federal tax money to the citizens of Kansas who paid these Federal taxes.

What did we do to deserve this disgusting and dysfunctional system of government??

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