KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Lawmakers In Kansas, Idaho Prepare Measures To Pre-Empt Any National Mandate To Purchase Insurance

The Associated Press/Forbes: "Kansas lawmakers have heard testimony on a proposed amendment to the state Constitution asserting Kansans' right to refuse to buy health insurance. Proponents of the measure call it a response to Democratic proposals in Congress that they say would force people to buy health insurance or face penalties for failing to do so." Supporters of the amendment believe the mandate in the national legislation is unconstitutional (2/9).

In related news, The Associated Press/Canadian Business reports that "Idaho House Republicans passed a bill Tuesday meant to scuttle proposed federal health care reforms that would require residents or companies to buy insurance. The 'Health Freedom Act,' which passed on a 52-18 party line vote, would require Idaho to sue the federal government over any health insurance mandates." The bill still awaits Senate action. Idaho is one of about three dozen states where conservative lawmakers "are forging ahead with constitutional amendments, referendums and laws ... that aim to ban government health insurance mandates" (Miller, 2/9).

Regarding other policy developments:

Kansas Health Institute: "Members of the Kansas e-Health Advisory Council on Tuesday heard a detailed proposal for creation of a non-profit corporation to oversee and manage the state's health information exchange efforts. But Roderick Bremby, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the chairman of the council, said the plan wasn't ready to be presented to the Legislature. He said the Kansas Health Information Exchange, Inc. or something like it, would instead be created through a governor's executive order once the entity's 'governance' plan is refined. As spelled out by Jeff Ellis, head of the council's working group on legal matters, the corporation would have a 17-member board appointed by the governor and the Legislative Coordinating Council." Those members would represent various areas of the health care field and the group would be small enough to make quick decisions (Shields, 2/9).

Spartanburg (S.C.) Herald Journal, on fights between a cancer center and hospital board in South Carolina: "The battle for control of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System board appointments rests with the state House of Representatives, Sen. Lee Bright said Monday night. ... Bright and Rep. Keith Kelly last week raised the possibility of the county Legislative Delegation taking the power away from Spartanburg County Council. ... Councilman David Britt lashed out at the attempt to take hospital board appointments from the county. Britt said the Greenville-based Cancer Centers of the Carolinas was behind the move in an attempt to cripple the public hospital system here" (Dalton and Spencer, 2/9).

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