Affordable Care Act

Dave Ranney /

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, the Kansas state chapter of AARP, and several other groups are calling on Governor Sam Brownback to veto a bill authorizing Kansas’s membership in an interstate health care compact.

Bill supporters say the compact would free the state from the new Affordable Care Act rules and regulations and allow it to control Medicaid and Medicare spending within its borders.

The Senate is also taking up a bill to bring Kansas into a multi-state compact asking to be exempted from the Affordable Care Act.

If Senators pass the bill today, it will go to Governor Sam Brownback.

The House approved it last month.

If the U.S. Congress consents, the compact lets participating states remove themselves from all federal health regulations.

Consumers and health care counselors struggled through problems with the federal online health insurance marketplace on Monday.

They were hit with a crush of late requests from Kansans trying to sign up for health coverage by the deadline.

The Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved trained most of the state's 170 or so health care counselors, or navigators.

The non-profit group reported that their schedules were packed with appointments ahead of the deadline.

The Kansas House has passed and sent to the Senate a bill that would allow Kansas to join several other states in an effort to take control of health care programs away from the federal government.

The main sponsor of the legislation in the House is Republican Brett Hildabrand.

The state House will soon debate whether Kansas should join a compact of states seeking to exempt themselves from the federal health care law.

The bill on today's agenda would also let participating states remove themselves from other federal health regulations if Congress consents.

Critics call the measure symbolic and say Congress wouldn't approve such a compact.

The Senate has also approved regulations for counselors who help people navigate the online insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.

The bill requires these health care navigators to register with the attorney general's office by July 2015, to submit their fingerprints, and to undergo background checks.

The attorney general's office also will handle complaints about navigators.

A proposal to allow Kansas to opt out of the federal health care overhaul is being reviewed by the house Federal and State Affairs Committee.

The bill would bring Kansas into a compact among states to take control of health care policy within their borders.

The compact is the project of the conservative, Texas-based group Competitive Governance Action.

Congress would have to approve the compact and cede power to the states on health care. Compact supporters think that's a possibility if Republicans control both chambers.

Kansans will likely increase the pressure to expand Medicaid next year, to cover thousands of uninsured residents.

Advocates say they'll push for an expansion once lawmakers convene their annual session January 13.

The Republican-dominated Legislature's displeasure with the federal health care overhaul led it to reject the expansion, which would be paid for with federal dollars.

Besides movie theaters and Wal-Mart, one place that will stay open this Thanksgiving is the new "exchange operations center." Staffers on the "tech surge" to fix the error-riddled site have just days to meet the Obama administration's self-imposed deadline for a functioning site.