Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Kansas State NAACP announces its strenuous opposition to the proposed "Kansas Health Care Freedom Amendment"

This afternoon, members of the Kansas House and Senate will introduce a proposed Amendment to the Kansas State Constitution disingenuously referred to as the "Kansas Health Care Freedom Amendment". This proposed Amendment seeks to prevent the implementation of any national Health Care reform measures within the state of Kansas.

While purporting to safeguard the freedoms Kansans enjoy with regard to Health Care, the legislation would add a new Article 16 to our State Constitution, which in Section 1(a)(1) would read, "A law or rule shall not compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system or purchase health insurance".

The proposed Amendment then goes on to enumerate 'protections' that are in no way challenged or threatened by any version of Health Care Reform legislation under consideration in Washington DC.

The Kansas State Conference believes that health care is a fundamental right of all Americans and not a privilege, and we steadfastly support the goal of Universal Health Care for all Americans.

Roslyn Brock, Vice Chair of the NAACP National Board of Directors stated, "Quality and Affordable Health care is a moral right and an economic imperative for our Nation. It would be a travesty for the 300,000 uninsured Kansans were this piece of legislation to pass"

We understand that any serious reform effort to eliminate discrimination on the basis of pre-existing conditions will require the participation of all Americans. Without across-the-board participation, young and otherwise healthy citizens would simply opt-out, thereby decreasing the pool and tilting health insurance rolls towards those with the most urgent health care needs. Such a system would be financially untenable and unsustainable. Guaranteeing the right of all citizens to obtain quality and affordable health care would therefore require the very types of reforms that this proposed amendment seeks to prohibit.

The Kansas State NAACP formally opposes the proposed "Kansas Health Care Freedom" amendment on the grounds that:
  • This proposed amendment would protect the ability of Insurance Companies to discriminate on the basis of pre-existing conditions.
  • This proposed amendment would prohibit the State of Kansas from ever guaranteeing the right of ALL Kansans to obtain quality and affordable health care.
  • This proposed amendment, being introduced preemptively and before the creation of any final bill or statutory language for reasoned and appropriate consideration, is shamefully partisan and reflects an unwillingness on the part of some to engage in the genuine and meaningful process of reforming our Nation's Health Care system.

At a time when more than 300,000 Kansans are without Health Insurance, this amendment, which seeks to obstruct necessary reform measures and protects the practice of insurance companies discriminating against consumers, is wrong for our State and our Nation. The Kansas State NAACP hereby voices its strenuous opposition to the proposed "Kansas Health Care Freedom" amendment, and we encourage all Kansans to contact your Senators and Representatives and register your disapproval.

Founded Feb. 12. 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization. Its more than half-million members and supporters throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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