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July 11, 2012
TOPEKA All four Kansas members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted today to repeal the federal health reform law recently upheld by the Supreme Court.
The repeal motion passed, 244-185, with five Democrats joining Republicans on the prevailing side. All the Kansas congresspersons are Republicans who have opposed the law in the past.
The House has voted more than 30 times to repeal, defund or otherwise limit the Affordable Care Act since Republicans took control of the body in 2010. None of the measures have advanced in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Today's House vote was viewed largely as symbolic and to send a message to voters for the upcoming elections.
Kansas 3rd District Congressman Kevin Yoder said he voted for repeal because he believed the law would hurt small businesses.
“It’s not good for small businesses and it’s devastating for job creation,” Yoder said on the House floor. “That’s why I stand today in support of a repeal of this massive burden on our economy.”
Joining Yoder in voting to repeal were 2nd District Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, 4th District Congressman Mike Pompeo and Tim Huelskamp, who represents the 1st District, the state’s largest geographically.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a former Kansas governor, took issue in an opinion piece in the Washington Post with many of the talking points used by Republicans in the repeal debate, including Yoder’s claim that the law was burdensome to small businesses.
Calling the claim “another falsehood,” Sebelius said, “The facts show the opposite is true.”
Sebelius, a Democrat, said that rather than hurting small businesses, the law was helping to make health coverage more affordable for them.
“Since the law passed, the share of small businesses offering employee coverage has held steady at 59 percent, the Kaiser (Family) Foundation has found, in part because new tax credits in the law are saving hundreds of thousands of small companies thousands of dollars each on their insurance costs,” Sebelius wrote.
A poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law indicated that Americans are growing tired of the ongoing political battle. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed said they wanted opponents of the law to stop trying to block it and move on to other national problems.
“I just don’t think there is the appetite to continue fighting against a law that has already been declared constitutional by the United States Supreme Court,” said Jay Angoff, director of the HHS regional office in Kansas City. “I think most people and most public officials are realizing the law is here to stay.”
The KHI News Service is an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute and is committed to timely, objective and in-depth coverage of health issues and the policy making environment. Find more about the News Service at khi.org/newsservice or contact us at (785) 783-2529.