Tue March 16, 2010
Kan. & Mo. Lawmakers Continue Push To Block Federal Health Care Bill
Topeka, Kan. / Jefferson City, Mo. – A measure pushing back against the federal government passed in the Kansas House Monday by a vote of 109 to 11. The resolution calls on the federal government to stop passing laws that put mandates on the states.
Proponents have argued the federal government is encroaching on states' rights. The non-binding measure has no legal authority, but Republican Representative Joe Patton told fellow lawmakers it still carries weight.
"Each of you swore and knows to uphold the constitution," Patton said. "And not one of you in the middle of the ceremony said, 'wait a minute, which statute does that apply to or not?' This resolution means we're Americans and that we're Kansans, and it's time we start acting like it."
The resolution has already passed in the Senate. The House made changes to the wording of the bill, so it will need to be considered again by the Senate.
Meanwhile in Missouri, a proposed constitutional amendment that would block mandatory participation in a government-run health care system passed the House on Tuesday. The resolution would not allow fines or penalties to be levied against employers and individuals who opt out of insurance coverage and pay for their own health care.
GOP House members say they're "drawing a line in the sand" in opposing federal health care legislation requiring health coverage for most Americans.
Democratic Floor Leader Paul LeVota spoke against the resolution:
"The objection is that we don't follow a health care bill that is still being debated in Congress that basically, to the root of it, reforms insurance companies," LeVota said. "This should be called 'the insurance company protection constitution amendment!'"
Constitutional experts say it's highly unlikely that any state can opt out of a federal law.
25 Democrats joined House Republicans in passing the measure. It now goes to the Missouri Senate, which is considering a similar resolution. If it passes both chambers, it would go before Missouri voters in November.