Kansas Statehouse
1:00 pm
Thu March 4, 2010

Amendment To Block Federal Health Care Legislation Advances in Kansas

Topeka, Kan. – A bill aimed at exempting Kansas from federal health care legislation is moving forward. The bill passed the House Health and Human Services Committee Tuesday.

It's a constitutional amendment, and says the state would be exempt from any federal rules requiring Kansans to have health insurance.

State representative Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, opposes the bill. He says it could limit debate in Kansas on health care legislation before it's even finished in Washington.

"This amendment would restrict our ability to opt in if we decide that this is good legislation after we see it," Ward says.

Scott Schwab, an Olathe Republican, says there's still plenty of time to debate the issue of health care legislation. That's because the state constitutional amendment needs to make several more steps.

"It's gotta be debated on the floor, it's gotta be debated in the Senate, it's gotta be debated in the public and voted on," Schwab says. "You'll never squelch debate."

Supporters of the amendment say it would allow Kansans to keep control of their own health care. To become part of the constitution, the bill would have to pass both chambers with a two-thirds majority and be approved by voters.