Facts to know about the Health Care Freedom Amendment

What is the Kansas Health Care Freedom Amendment and what will it do?

  • The Health Care Freedom Amendment is a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would preserve certain existing rights that individuals have regarding health care.
  • Two key provisions – 1) protects a person’s right to participate or not participate in any health care system, and prohibits the government from imposing fines or penalties on that person’s decision. 2) it protects the right of individuals to purchase—and the right of doctors to provide—lawful medical services without government fine or penalty.
  • The state constitution reflects the most fundamental values shared by the citizens of the state, and may provide protections greater than the U.S. Constitution. (Some states provide greater protection for freedom of speech or due process rights.)
  • The federal government will have to demonstrate its legislation is legitimately derived from congressional authority to regulate interstate commerce and it will also have to show how the legislation does not violate the 10th Amendment, which reserves to the states all government power not expressly delegated to the national government; and the 11th Amendment, which protects states from being used as mere instruments of the federal government. This U.S. Supreme Court is the most pro-federalism Court in decades.
  • Unlike state law, when the state constitution protects the freedom of the people of the state, the Supremacy Clause is not automatic. It establishes the people’s will at a higher level, so a constitutional amendment is preferable to a state law. A state constitutional amendment will ensure the state legislature can never infringe upon the protected rights of citizens’ health care.
  • The Health Care Freedom Amendment would allow anyone to participate in a health care system they want, but it would also protect Kansas citizens from being forced into a health care system they do not like. It is not an attempt to block federal health-care reform as long as the federal law does not require an individual/employer mandate, or forbid patients from paying directly for medical services.
  • This is not an attempt to “opt-out of” or “nullify” federal health insurance legislation. It is an attempt to protect the liberty of Kansas citizens to control their own medical affairs.
  • The Health Care Freedom Amendment does not affect any rules and regulations in place as of August 1, 2009, so it does not affect Veterans’ Administration programs, worker’s compensation, Medicare, Medicaid or state health-care systems.
  • The Health Care Freedom Amendment does not affect abortion. States may regulate abortion under applicable constitutional doctrine and state or federal law. However, the Health Care Freedom Amendment does prevent government from forcing individuals into health care systems against their will, and matters of conscience may influence such individual decisions.
  • Our country was founded on principles of liberty and freedom – not command and control government. It is economic freedom that helped us reduce poverty.
  • We can develop policy that builds proper incentives on a base of liberty. Shaping command-and-control policies encourage destructive behavior.
People of good will can differ on a wide range of policy details, but when the economic freedom of Kansas citizens is at stake, Kansas Legislators need to take action to protect their liberty.