Friday, October 24, 2014

Praeger, groups urge health care compact veto

By The Herald Staff | 4/16/2014

TOPEKA — Several advocacy groups have joined a top state official in urging Gov. Sam Brownback to veto a bill seeking to sidestep provisions of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

House Bill 2553, which was passed by the Kansas House and Senate, would allow for the state to join the Interstate Healthcare Compact, a move that would place all federal funding for health care services, including Medicare and Medicaid, under the control of the governor and Legislature.

TOPEKA — Several advocacy groups have joined a top state official in urging Gov. Sam Brownback to veto a bill seeking to sidestep provisions of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

House Bill 2553, which was passed by the Kansas House and Senate, would allow for the state to join the Interstate Healthcare Compact, a move that would place all federal funding for health care services, including Medicare and Medicaid, under the control of the governor and Legislature.

Maren Turner, AARP Kansas Commissioner, and Sandy Praeger, Kansas Insurance Commissioner, urged Brownback Wednesday to veto the bill. The AARP testified in opposition to the bill during the legislative session. AARP and Praeger were joined Wednesday by Kansas Advocates for Better Care and Kansas Health Consumers Coalition.

“Medicare is a guaranteed and stable program that more than 448,000 Kansans depend on for their health care needs,” Turner said. “Placing this very popular program under the jurisdiction of the state not only increases the size of state government, but joining a health care compact reduces the amount of health benefits and protections as well as the much needed savings beneficiaries now enjoy.”

Praeger said proponents of the bill say the bill will not affect Medicare, which she said is untrue.

“[The bill] could jeopardize the coverage and benefits that seniors have come to count on. It would be a serious mistake to turn the Medicare program over to state control. Kansans have paid into this program through payroll taxes and expect to receive the benefits they have been promised,” Praeger said.

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