WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) -- the nation's largest nonpartisan individual membership association of state legislators -- congratulates Kansas State Senator Mary Pilcher Cook and Representatives Peggy Mast and Brenda Landwehr for filing the Kansas Health Care Freedom Amendment, which would protect the right of individuals to make their own health care choices. Sen. Pilcher Cook, Rep. Mast and Rep. Landwehr will hold a press conference today at 4:00 p.m. at the state house in Topeka to discuss their efforts.
Kansas joins 35 other states where legislators have introduced, or will introduce, legislation modeled after ALEC's Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act. Under the legislation, any state attempt to require an individual to purchase health insurance -- or forbid an individual from purchasing services outside of the required health care system -- would be rendered unconstitutional. The measure may also cause a federalism clash if Congress passes a law with either of these provisions.
"Massachusetts enacted its disastrous individual mandate to thunderous bipartisan applause, and now leaders in Congress are set to wreak the same havoc on the rest of America. Today, Kansas is standing up to say 'no' to these assaults on patients' rights," said Christie Herrera, director of ALEC's Health and Human Services Task Force, which is coordinating the nationwide effort.
"This is a battle that has been fought before and won before. States may protect individual liberties to a greater extent than the U.S. Constitution allows, and the courts must balance the competing interests. This is the foundation of the effort in Kansas and elsewhere -- that health care choice is a civil liberties issue," Herrera added.
The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act has already been filed or prefiled in 30 states -- Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Lawmakers in an additional 4 states -- Montana, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Utah -- have publicly announced their intentions to file the legislation. A citizen-led initiative has also been announced in Colorado.
Arizona's measure, which passed the legislature last June, will be put before voters on the November ballot.
The American Legislative Exchange Council is the nation's largest nonpartisan, individual membership organization of state legislators.
SOURCE American Legislative Exchange Council