House Committee Focuses on Public Health with Increased Tobacco Tax, Greater Access to Affordable Health Care
The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote today on legislation that if enacted would greatly improve public health.
Topeka, Kan. – Today, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoed Senate Bill 29, which would have exposed more Kansans to inadequate health plans that can avoid patient protections required by federal law.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society oppose increasing the availability of Short Term Limited Duration Plans (STLDPs) because these plans often deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions (which now include nearly 10% of Kansans who have had COVID-19), choose to not cover services related to those pre-existing conditions or charge enrollees higher premiums because of their pre-existing conditions. Additionally, STLDPs do not cap out-of-pocket expenses, can have higher deductibles and may not cover essential health benefits such as prescription medication and maternity care.
The following are statements from the patient advocacy groups applauding the governor’s decision to veto legislation that would make it harder for Kansans who live with serious or chronic diseases to find health insurance:
“We thank Governor Kelly for rejecting this inherently harmful bill and for protecting Kansans from finding themselves without coverage for lifesaving medical treatment despite paying for a health plan. We encourage our state lawmakers to sustain this veto and to direct their efforts toward expanding Medicaid. Providing Kansans access to affordable, comprehensive health care coverage is one of the most critical steps they can take to fight cancer,” said Christina Cowart, ACS CAN Kansas Grassroots Manager.
“The American Heart Association applauds Governor Kelly and believes all health plans should cover a full range of needed health benefits. Short term plans can pose significant emotional and financial risk for Kansas families. Thanks to increased subsidies and affordability of ACA coverage, Kansas families do not need to sacrifice comprehensive coverage for the sake of affordability,” said Lindsey Stillwell, Kansas State Advocacy Committee Chair, American Heart Association.
“We’re grateful for Governor Kelly’s commitment to protecting Kansans whose medical histories used to make it impossible to find reliable health insurance,” said Dana Bacon, Kansas government affairs director with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “Short-term health plans pose serious and often underestimated risks to people facing illness and discriminate against people who’ve experienced cancer. Kansas lawmakers would do well to pass stronger coverage options such as Medicaid expansion to meet the needs of uninsured Kansans.”
About ACS CAN at 20
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that saves lives. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting www.fightcancer.org.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
About the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is a global leader in the fight against cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.