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Kansas leaders react to health care decision

By KHI NEWS SERVICE | June 28, 2012

Kansas Health Consumer Coalition director Anna Lambertson (center) sent this photo from the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court today as the high court ruled that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional.

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Anna Lambertson, executive director of the Kansas Health Consumer Coalition:

"We are thrilled the court has upheld the important consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act.

"There are more than 350,000 Kansans who do not have any health insurance and many Kansans have insurance that is inadequate to cover them when they get sick or have an accident. The Affordable Care Act will continue to help cover many hardworking Kansans who are struggling to afford health coverage for themselves and their families.

"Today's decision from the U.S. Supreme Court will allow for Kansans to keep the benefits of the Affordable Care Act that are already helping them, including keeping their young adult children on their plans until the age of 26, not worrying about their children being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions, and not having their health coverage dropped for unintentional mistakes on their applications.

"Today's decision will also allow for implementation of other significant provisions, such as a prohibition on denials for adults with pre-existing conditions, and access to an insurance marketplace where they could be eligible for tax credits to help them purchase coverage."

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Jerry Slaughter, executive director of the Kansas Medical Society:

"The states that felt like (the law) created a significant financial obligation on their part may choose not to expand their Medicaid programs ... every state's got to look at the cost associated with it and make a decision.

"It wouldn't surprise me if there wasn't some bill introduced or some hearings scheduled (by the Kansas Legislature) to discuss what the options were, if (Kansas) didn't expand (its Medicaid) program."

Shannon Cotsoradis, chief executive of Kansas Action for Children:

“Today’s decision marks the beginning of a new era in health care coverage for Kansas children and their families. Working families will no longer be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition or lose their coverage when someone gets sick. More secure health care coverage, as a result of the (Affordable Care Act), will finally give hardworking Kansas families some peace of mind.

Shannon Cotsoradis of Kansas Action for Children

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"As a result of the ACA:

· More than 60,000 uninsured children in Kansas will gain access to health care coverage.

· Parents of children with special health care needs, such as cancer, asthma, a birth defect or physical or intellectual disabilities will be able to get coverage for their children.

· Young adults, who are the most likely to be uninsured, will have access to coverage through their parent’s health plans until age 26."

Congressman Tim Huelskamp, a freshman Republican who represents the 1st District:

“When they look back on the American system of once-limited government, June 28, 2012, will stand as a definitive date in the advance of government tyranny. Today, a slim majority of the Supreme Court turned our Constitution on its head, and ruled that the federal government, in effect, can force upon the American people anything it damn well pleases – as long as it is called a tax. Unlimited federal power, combined with judicial activism, has crafted a new regime that has destroyed our Founders’ vision.”

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, Republican of Kansas:

“A law can be constitutional but still a bad idea. I continue to believe that the health care reform law jeopardizes access to quality health care for many Americans, threatens the survival of Kansas communities, and stifles our country’s job growth through higher taxes and burdensome regulations. The right direction for our country is for Congress to repeal this unsound law and enact targeted reforms that will actually drive down health care costs and strengthen access to quality care. I remain committed to replacing this damaging law with commonsense policies the American people support.”

U.S. senators Jerry Moran (left) and Pat Roberts.

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U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas:

“I’m deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to keep Obamacare in place. This is the wrong decision for our country. After two years, we have seen the problems and pitfalls of this law, and they fall squarely on the shoulders of patients and Kansas families. The Court has affirmed that Obamacare is a new, additional tax. Care will cost more, and access to quality care will be reduced. No wonder a majority of Americans oppose it.

“It’s now up to the Congress to repeal and replace this law with step by step, common-sense, cost-cutting solutions that work for Kansans and all Americans and that’s what I will work to do in the Senate. There is no question today’s decision is a real setback for America and will make our work that much harder.”

Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger.

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Sandy Praeger, Kansas insurance commissioner, a Republican:

“For the first time now, public policy in this country says everyone should have access to health care services and a means to pay for them. Don’t we think it’s right that people in this country have access to health care? Don’t we think there is a moral responsibility that you not be denied health care because you can’t pay for it?”

Sherriene Jones-Sontag, chief spokesperson for Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican:

"The Brownback administration continues to oppose Obamacare and will not take any action to implement it. This is now a political issue that will be resolved by the American people in the November elections."

Derek Schmidt, Kansas attorney general, a Republican:

“I’m deeply disappointed in the Court’s decision. The era of big government lives on.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt

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“The Court’s majority declared Obamacare to be nothing more than an old-fashioned tax-and-spend program. No more can Congress or the president claim that this is ‘not a tax.’ American voters now must decide, through the 2012 elections, the wisdom of this formerly hidden tax increase. Kansas policy leaders also now have the choice whether or not to spend more Kansas taxpayer funds to expand the Medicaid program.

“The states’ arguments were not ignored. The Supreme Court today flatly rejected the federal government’s unprecedented power grab under the Commerce Clause. It also rejected the federal government’s effort to transform the Medicaid program from a federal-state partnership into a centralized program run by Washington, from Washington and solely for Washington. These legal rulings will benefit the long-term vigor of our federal system.”


Previous coverage of health reform and the Supreme Court

Anticipating the Supreme Court's ruling

Supreme Court to rule Thursday on health care reform
New consumer protections depend on high court's ruling
Court challenge could result in Medicaid cutbacks instead of expansion
GOP promises smaller-scale health care agenda if court strikes down law
Some health system changes will stay, no matter how Supreme Court rules
Obama administration finds 3.1M young adults gained coverage under law
What's at stake for Medicare beneficiaries in health reform ruling
What's at stake for women if health law overturned
Washburn law professor holding to prediction that health reform law will be upheld
Even without the individual mandate, health law would still affect millions

The Great Health Reform Debate: Kansas experts weigh in
"The system we have in this country is a failure because people do not have equal access to care," said retired Stormont-Vail HealthCare CEO Maynard Oliverius. He is one of six Kansas experts who weigh in on the health reform debate ahead of the Supreme Court's ruling on the law.
Watch the six video shorts here.

Oral arguments before the Supreme Court

Day 1 — Anti-Injunction Act
Guide to what happened at the Supreme Court
Day 2 — Individual Mandate
Kansas AG Schmidt encouraged by justices' skepticism of health reform law
Justices grill Obama administration on health law
National media round-up
Day 3 — Medicaid Expansion and Severability
Vigorous severability, Medicaid questions

Preview to the Supreme Court oral arguments

Schmidt’s pledge to join ACA challenge bolstered candidacy
Full interview: Derek Schmidt on the legal challenge of the health reform law
The Health Law and the Supreme Court: A primer for the upcoming oral arguments
Video explainer: The health care reform challenge before the Supreme Court

Related coverage

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More archived stories and in-depth information on the Affordable Care Act


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