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Kansas Healthcare Amendment (2012)

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The Kansas Healthcare Amendment did not make the 2012 ballot in the state of Kansas. The measure was originally proposed for the November 2, 2010 ballot, but was not passed to the ballot by legislature. The 2012 version, according to reports was similar to the 2010 version. State Representative Brenda Landwehr stated her intentions to introduce the measure in 2011 session, and did so early in session.[1][2][3]

The measure, which was first introduced in January 2010 to the state legislature, would exempt residents of Kansas from potential national mandates passed by the United States Congress that required individuals to buy health care or force employers to provide it to their employees. In addition, the proposed amendment would guarantee that health care providers would receive direct payment from patients, and would be free of liability of fines and penalties.[4]

Constitutional changes

Kansas Healthcare Amendment, constitutional text changes

If enacted by Kansas voters, the measure would have added Article 16 to the Kansas Constitution.[5]



  • Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook, one of the three sponsors of the amendment, stated at the time that the proposed constitutional amendment would, "preserve the freedom of Kansans to provide for their own health care without government intervention or government coercion." Cook has cited that other states are making similar efforts to place a health care question on the ballot, stating, "When a whole lot of states are doing it, then the federal government really should listen, and I think they’re having trouble listening right now."[4][6]
  • Senator Jim Barnett stated, "The issue would be placed on the ballot to give the voters of Kansas an opportunity to vote, to say 'No' to what I think has become a runaway train in Washington with behind-closed-doors dealings for health care."[7]
  • State Representative Owen Donohoe stated about not having the protection of health care freedom in the state constitution: "I don’t even know if that’s feasible, there’s all these possibilities out there...if you don’t have that in your constitution, it’s not beneficial to not have it, so let’s do what we have, in case it’s beneficial, we have it."[8]



  • Representative Cindy Neighbor made a case for those in opposition of a health care amendment, stating that the measure's proposal could have cost the state chunks of money, a loss that the state could have ill afforded during a budget shortfall. According to Neighbor, "We’re looking at making cuts of $400 million. I think we could do better work for the people." Neighbor later stated, “There has to be a good, strong, valid reason for changes, because it appears that we are using it as more of a tool for getting what we want instead of looking long-term at what the consequences will be."[6]
  • During the 2011 legislative session, State Representative Ann Mah commented on the proposed 2012 version of the measure, stating, "We can’t pass a law that supersedes federal law. We can put it in the constitution and it still won’t matter. We can’t write a lot here that will make a difference."[8]

Path to the ballot

The Kansas House of Representatives approved of the 2010 version of the measure in the preliminary round of voting on March 22, 2010. The House had to vote one more time to approve the measure to the Senate. At least 84 votes, two-thirds of the House, was needed to approve of the measure. The vote took place on March 23, 2010. The vote on the amendment was 75-47, therefore not gaining the required 84 votes to pass it to the Kansas State Senate. However, Pilcher-Cook planned to debate the issue and raise the measure up again in front of the Senate during the month of April 2010, therefore not yet leaving the measure off the ballot just yet. On April 28, 2010, the Senate voted 21-19 against bringing the measure up for debate. Pilcher-Cook stated, however, "I do not give up too easily." Legislative session ended on May 28, 2010, without the measure being sent to the 2010 ballot as intended by supporters. Supporters then introduced two proposals in 2011 state legislative session to place on the 2012 ballot.[9][2][10][3]

Both measures were approved by the House Health and Human Services Committee during the week of February 2, 2011. The committee's chairwoman, State Representative Brenda Landwehr introduced both proposals. The Kansas House of Representatives must have voted on the measure and approve it before going to the Kansas State Senate for a similar vote. The House vote was scheduled for February 11, 2011, where the measure was approved with a vote of 91-27. The measure was scheduled to be sent to the State Senate. 2011 session ended without the measure going to the ballot.[11][12]

During 2012 state legislative session, another version of the measure was rejected by the Kansas State Senate, effectively killing the bill for the 2012 election.[13]

A 2/3rds vote in both chambers of the Kansas State Legislature is required to refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot. Kansas is one of 17 states that requires this process.[14]

See also


External links

Additional reading