Topeka The House on Monday gave final approval to a bill that seeks to disengage Kansas from the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
House Bill 2553 was approved on a 74-48 vote and sent to the Senate for consideration.
The measure would allow Kansas to join a compact of states that would retain federal health dollars but exempt themselves from the requirements of the ACA. Before it could be implemented, such a compact would have to be approved by both the U.S. House and Senate.
Supporters of the bill said it would allow the states to tailor their own health insurance regulations, but opponents said it could jeopardize Medicare funding to 450,000 senior citizens in Kansas.
Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, one of the few elected Republican officials in the nation who supports the ACA, said under the bill the state could shortchange Medicare to fund other budget needs. AARP Kansas also testified against the bill, citing similar fears.
State Rep. Brett Hildabrand, R-Shawnee, said federal funds could be shifted around but would have to stay within health care programs.
But state Rep. Stephanie Clayton, R-Overland Park, voted against the bill, tweeting after the vote: "I had to choose. I chose Seniors over Politics."
The proposal has the backing of the Kansas Chamber and Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Eight other states have adopted similar measures: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.
Lawrence legislators all voted against the bill.