Kansas

This article is part of the State Status and News series related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

On 29-Mar-2010, a report1) stated that Kansas “GOP legislators introduced a resolution that they said would require [Kansas Attorney General Steve] Six to take legal action against the law or join with other attorneys general in a lawsuit. The measure has to be approved by only one chamber.” On 02-Apr-2010, a report2) stated “Kansas Attorney General Steve Six on Friday rejected calls for him to challenge the federal health care reform law. Six, a Democrat, said a lawsuit against the federal government would be expensive, politically motivated and unlikely to succeed.” The report also noted that legislation mandating suit is still pending in the Kansas legislature.

Since the bill was signed into law March 23. The staff at the Kansas Insurance Department (KID) has fielded many questions surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Kansans are wanting to know — and rightfully so — how the new federal legislation will affect them.

We are working feverishly to compile information. I have organized an implementation team that will help determine how the bill affects the insurance market in Kansas. Because it is our job to figure out how to put in place the maze of new regulation concerning health insurance in the private market, I assure you that our work will be done in an unbiased way with all Kansans in mind.

It’s going to take plenty of time in the next few months. We don’t have all the rules and facts yet, despite what some media people and consumers might think. We as state regulators have seen the bill only in broad strokes. And you know how the old saying goes “The devil is in the details.”

I can help protect Kansas health insurance consumers because the law says the federal government HAS to work with state insurance commissioners to develop many of the law s provisions. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is mentioned nine times in the bill as providing information and helping to implement the law. That is good for consumers all across the country. It keeps local people in control of local situations.

[…]

The Kansas Insurance Department’s role in protecting Kansas insurance consumers cannot be overstated. We have oversight granted to us in the federal law to make sure Kansans are not “gamed” or “scammed” by the new system. Also, we have power to review rates and oversee the financial condition of health insurance companies as new markets open up through the law’s provisions on health exchanges.

You will see me writing more about the law in future Commissioner’s Corners columns, news releases and consumer alerts. The law will fundamentally affect health insurance products for years to come. We at KID will always work through the legislation in a nonpartisan way to help Kansans understand their options and obligations.

Sandy Praeger is the Kansas Insurance Commissioner.

Praeger, Sandy (Insurance Commissioner, State of Kansas). “Insurance Department Charged with Protecting Kansans in Health Reform Law”. Winfield Daily Courier. April 7, 2010. Available online as of 2010-04-08.

Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson said Wednesday that he supports Attorney General Steve Six's decision to keep the state out of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new national health care law.

“For me it's just a dollar and cents thing,” Parkinson said. “If we join the lawsuit, all we do is we share in the cost. I don't see why we would share in the cost if the thing is going to happen anyway.”

Parkinson, a Democrat, said he doesn't think Kansas participation would make a difference in whether the controversial law gets overturned by the Supreme Court.

“There are a number of other states that are already suing,” Parkinson said in an interview with The Eagle's news and editorial departments. “They have retained an independent, high-powered, high-priced law firm that's going to go out and challenge the suit. The suit's either going to be successful or not.”

[…]

Rep. Aaron Jack, R-Andover, is sponsoring a resolution in the Kansas House that would force Six to join the lawsuit. He said he expects it to come to a vote when the House returns for its annual wrap-up session later this month.

Under Kansas law, a simple majority vote in either the House or Senate can compel the attorney general to take legal action — and the resolution is not vulnerable to a veto by the governor, Jack said.

He also disputed the governor's contention that Kansas involvement wouldn't influence the outcome of the multistate lawsuit.

[…]

Don Lefler, Don (Wichita Eagle). “Kansas should stay out of health care suit, governor says” Miami Hearald April 8, 2010. Available online as of 2010-04-08.

1) Rothschild, Scott. “Resolution Seeks to Force State Attorney General to Challenge Federal Health Reforms”. Lawrence Journal-World. March 29, 2010. Available online as of 2010-04-04.
2) Klepper, David. “Kansas Attorney General Won't Challenge Federal Health Care Reform Law In Court”. Kansas City Star. April 2, 2010, 10:40 PM. Available online as of 2010-04-04.