The Road Forward on Health Care

I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving! This time of year provides us an opportunity to reflect upon the significant blessings in our lives – our faith, family, friends, and the freedom we are able to enjoy by living in the United States of America.

Many of you have asked me in recent days about what we can do as a state to protect the freedom we enjoy in regards to our health care, given the re-election of President Obama. In last year’s session, we fell one vote short of forwarding the Kansas Health Care Freedom Amendment to the voters. The amendment to the Kansas Constitution, which you can learn more about at, would allow Kansans to establish their clear feelings in regards to the federal health care law.

With the recent success of elections in Kansas, I am going to renew our efforts to pass the Kansas Health Care Freedom Amendment in the 2013 session. Now, more than ever before, it is critical that we establish the rights of Kansans in regards to their own health care in our state constitution. We simply cannot relent in this fight, as the consequences of the ACA/Obamacare legislation will become more and more apparent over the next two years. It will:

  • drive up the cost of health care and health insurance premiums
  • lower the quality of health care
  • cause health care providers to become subject to vast new regulatory schemes
  • limit physicians in how they can practice medicine
  • bring fiscal disaster to our state and other states
  • violate religious liberty – and liberty in general
The U.S. Supreme Court ACA/Obamacare ruling did NOT change the fact that the U.S. Constitution forbids the federal government from commanding states to pass legislation or force states to run a federal program. State legislatures and governors would have to pass legislation to agree to do so.

If a state sets up a health insurance exchange as defined by ACA/Obamacare, the state would be giving the federal government the authority to control health insurance in the state and it would also incur all the expenses of setting up the exchange. The federal government would have the same control whether the state or the federal government set up the health insurance exchange. However, the federal government would have to incur the cost if the state does nothing.

While tax subsidies for certain individuals could only come from the federally-controlled exchange set up by a state, it would also allow the federal government to impose tax penalties. However, if a state refuses to implement the federally-controlled exchange, the federal government may still set up the exchange, but it would take longer and there would be no tax penalties on businesses that would cause higher costs to consumers.

If our state of Kansas agrees to expanding Medicaid or implementing a federally-controlled state exchange, it would irrevocably surrender critical elements of our citizens’ liberty and our state sovereignty because the ACA/Obamacare continually-changing regulations would control the way citizens receive health care in Kansas.

States that do comply with ACA/Obamacare will be hit especially hard, because expanding Medicaid will increase demand for health care and add administrative costs that will not be financially sustainable. The federal government can’t pay its current bills. Why would we believe it will pay this one?

Instead, Kansas should pass legislation that:

1) Gives doctors and hospitals the freedom to practice medicine so they can provide high-quality health care;

2) Allows health insurance companies to provide lower-cost health insurance policies;

3) Grant immunity to health care providers so they can give charity health care throughout Kansas without the risk of getting sued.

I will be working hard to improve health care in our state without the coercion of federal or state government.

Your liberty is at stake, as is our state sovereignty.

In honor of your liberty,

Mary Pilcher-Cook

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