Supporters of a proposed Constitutional Amendment designed to block a federal insurance mandate tried again today in the Kansas House.
And, again, the vote failed to get the all-important two-thirds majority needed to pass the legislation.
Wednesday’s vote was 75-47 – the same outcome as Tuesday’s vote. To be added to the state Constitution, amendments must be passed by both chambers with a two-thirds vote (84 votes in the House) and then be approved by the voters.
The proposed amendment would attempt to prohibit the federal government from requiring nearly all Kansans to buy insurance. That’s one of the cornerstones of the health care reform bill passed Sunday night by the U.S. House.
Supporters of the amendment say the feds are going too far, and they say Kansans should be allowed to make their own insurance decisions. They pleaded for votes on the House floor, but it wasn’t enough.
“We take an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the State of Kansas,” said Rep. Peggy Mast, an Emporia Republican and one of the amendment’s sponsors. “We believe in individual liberty and freedom. That’s what our country was founded upon… please stand up for the people of Kansas and support this bill.”
But opponents held firm. They argued yesterday that the amendment wouldn’t trump federal law, and was more about political theater than health care policy.
“We had this debate yesterday,” said Rep. Julie Menghini, a Pittsburg Democrat.
So is the amendment dead? A version is still clinging to life in the Senate, but it’s yet to emerge from committee. With a few weeks left in the session, it’s always possible supporters may try yet again.