Poor and uninsured Kansans are likely to be most affected by a proposed Kansas law that would, if passed, likely prevent Kansas from participating in a public health insurance option.
In an article published today at Forward Kansas, Skye Coleman reports that Kansas State-Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook is attempting to deny Kansans the very health care she herself receives through passage of the Health Care Freedom Amendment, "which actually deny the citizens of Kansas the freedom to CHOOSE a public health insurance option."
The amendment to pending legislation contains "vague language that is meant to appease a small population of tea party
activists within the Republican party," writes Coleman.
non-specified intention of this legislation is to ensure that whatever
reform the US Congress passes does not take effect in Kansas. This
amendment is vaguely worded, designed to prevent the federal government
from requiring an employer to provide health insurance benefits for
their Kansas employees, and requiring an individual without insurance
The unintended consequence would likely be the refusal of
federal funds to provide for the setting up of a health care exchange,
and subsidized benefits for poor and uninsured Kansans. This would
prevent the Public Health Insurance Option from being a choice for all
As Coleman notes, Kansans can ill afford to lose access to the public option.
According to a study
released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in July about the
benefits of the Affordable Health Choices Act being debated in the US
- Over 250,000 Kansans who currently are unable to purchase health care would gain access to high quality, affordable care.
- Over 65,000 Kansas small businesses would have the possibility of receiving tax credits to provide for coverage of their employees.
- Over 44,000 Kansas seniors would avoid a hole in Medicare Part D that currently exists, drastically improving their care.
- Over 4,100 Kansan families would escape the clutches of bankruptcy due to affordable health care.
Local groups are engaging in outreach to educate constituents about the proposed amendment, demonstrating in a March on November 7th (you can find more information on the facebook event page), and writing letters to State-Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook.