Our Heavenly Father, I recently read how one might apply the principles of putting together a jigsaw puzzle to life and work. I pray these principles for our leaders today as they continue to wrap up the decisions of this session. Help them to not force a fit, if something is meant to be, it will come naturally. When things aren’t going well, encourage them to take a break. Things will look different when they return to it. Help them to look at the big picture. If they allow themselves to get hung up on small pieces it will lead to their frustration. Remind them that perseverance pays off. Every important puzzle goes together piece by piece. And lastly, may they recognize that anything worth doing will take time and effort. In Christ’s Name I pray, Amen.
HB 2075, AN ACT concerning surplus lines insurance; relating to the surplus lines insurance multi-state compliance compact; amending K.S.A. 40-246c and 40-246e and K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 40-246b and repealing the existing sections.
Representative Clark Shultz is a Republican from Lindsborg, Kansas who has been in the legislature since 1997.
The House Committee on Insurance amended the bill to include provisions that would require insurance policies issued or renewed on and after July 1, 2011, to exclude coverage for “elective abortions” (HB 2292, as introduced) and would prohibit state employees from using Flexible Spending Account dollars for elective abortions (HB 2293, as introduced).
Proponents of HB 2292 included Representative DeGraaf, Kansans for Life, and the Kansas Catholic Conference. Proponents of the bills generally indicated that the bill is intended to ensure that private citizens and businesses do not end up financing other person's abortions through premium payments. The proponents noted that seven states have passed similar legislation and individuals who want abortion coverage could purchase such coverage via a rider. A representative of Kansans for Life suggested an amendment to the definition of “abortion” in testimony.
Opponents of the bill included Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. The Planned Parenthood representative stated that the bill provides no consideration for the health of the mother and proposes an unworkable, impractical rider system. The representative also stated that, under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, there are no taxpayer dollars that would be paying for elective abortion coverage in any private insurance plan sold in the exchange.Senator David Haley voted against adopting the Conference Report because the abortion language from HB 2292 and HB 2293 had never passed in either chamber of the Kansas legislature. He said:
The Kansas Association of Health Plans submitted neutral testimony, stating that in a number of member plans, coverage is provided if this procedure is medically necessary and that decision is made by the provider. Further, some group plans have requested specific “opt-out” language (allows groups to opt-out of coverage for abortion, unless the life of the mother is at risk if she cannot carry to full-term or has an ectopic pregnancy). The representative's comments indicated that handling this opt-out clause or having a rider in the non-group market will make these policies difficult to administer.
Proponents of HB 2293 included Representative DeGraaf, Kansans for Life, and the Kansas Catholic Conference. Representative DeGraaf indicated that state employees have the option to set up a reimbursement plan tax-free for eligible expenses. The State of Kansas, as an employer, the Representative noted, can and should have the ability on behalf of taxpayers to outlaw the payment for and/or the reimbursement of costs associated with abortions by state employees under any State Employee Benefit Program.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri appeared in opposition to HB 2293. The Planned Parenthood representative stated that the bill would ban state employees from using their own dollars, held in health savings accounts, to cover the cost of unreimbursed, legal medical care expenses and the bill seeks only to place more unnecessary burdens on women seeking abortion care.
MR. PRESIDENT: I vote “NO” on the conference committee report to HB 2075,
time-honored rules of the Kansas Legislature; specifically Joint Rule 3, Section F, of the Joint Rules of the House and Senate to, in this instance, insert new language (on
abortion based insurance policy riders) which has never passed either chamber is foul.....and cheats our honor. Sure, twenty-one of us can make a new rule here as we go along. But the eyes and ears of all law-abiding Kansans are watching and listening.
Perverting the rules of the Senate to subsidize any political agenda or issue cheapens the respect that each of us should demand of this body and this process. A “YES” vote on this measure dims the light in the chamber; tarnishes the gild. —DAVID HALEY