‘Health care freedom amendment’ fails in Kansas House

? As President Barack Obama signed into law health care reform, the Kansas House rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that was aimed at blocking the federal legislation.

The measure received a 75-47 majority Tuesday but fell short of the two-thirds majority — 84 votes — necessary in the 125-member House to put a constitutional amendment before voters.

When the House debated the issue, many Republicans repeated arguments heard over the past year.

They said the federal plan was an unconstitutional takeover of health care, would reduce the quality of medicine and break the budget.

The reforms “will take us down the path of socialism,” said Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita.

But Democrats criticized the proposed state constitutional amendment, saying that federal health reform will be decided on U.S. constitutional issues regardless of what states approve. They also argued that the state amendment would constrain the Legislature from making health insurance changes sought by consumers.

The amendment would have prohibited the federal government from requiring that Kansans purchase health insurance.

Speaking against the amendment, Rep. Ann Mah, D-Topeka, said that it would have made “the Kansas Legislature a subsidiary of the Kansas insurance industry.”