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Health Care Compact Bill Advances in KS Statehouse

Statehouse sunset-small(Photo by Stephen Koranda)A House committee has advanced a bill aimed at exempting Kansas from the federal health care overhaul. State Representative Brett Hildabrand, a Shawnee Republican, says that if the bill ends up passing, it could move Kansas towards gaining more control over federal health care programs.

Two Democrats on the committee voted against the bill. They said afterward that it wouldn’t guarantee better health care for Kansans. The bill would authorize Kansas to join a compact drawn up by a group of states that would exempt members from federal health care requirements. However, that compact wouldn't go into effect unless it was approved by both the U.S. House and Senate, something that is viewed as unlikely while Democrats control that chamber.



A committee in the Kansas House has advanced a bill aimed at exempting the state from the federal health care overhaul. The bill passed the Federal and State Affairs Committee on a voice vote and is now headed to the full House for consideration. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, it would authorize Kansas to join a multi-state health care compact.


The bill is asking that Kansas, and other states that joint the compact, be given more power over health care. The compact would ask that the federal government continue to provide funding, but give states control over health care programs like Medicaid and the option of not taking part in some of them. Representative Brett Hildabrand, a Shawnee Republican, is one of the bill’s main supporters.

“What I would like to see is reset the clock pre-Obamacare. And then, individual states would still pick what health care programs they want to be a part of,” says Hildabrand.

A Democrat on the committee, Representative Louis Ruiz, from Kansas City, Kansas, calls the bill “unnecessary” and says it’s a swipe at the federal health care law.

“It’s the law of the land. When are they going to be able to accept it’s the law of the land like any other law?” says Ruiz.

To take effect, the compact would need approval of states that want to be involved and both chambers of the U.S. Congress. That’s unlikely while Democrats control the U.S. Senate.

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