Kansas Lt. Governor Claims Health Law Says Exact Opposite Of What It Actually Says

Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer (R)

Yesterday, Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer clarified that Sam Brownback’s administration will not establish a health insurance exchange “until the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act,” and criticized some of the regulations promulgated by the law. Colyer claimed that early innovator grant the state rejected last month would require bureaucrats to ration health care:

Colyer held up a stack of papers written in 8-point font that he said are the preliminary rules and regulations accompanying the grant. […] He also cited part of the rules that he said means the health care exchange would determine whether procedures for a person who could die are “inappropriate or too costly.” “That troubles me greatly,” he said.

Last month, Brownback and Coyler folded to political pressure and returned the $31 million they initially accepted from the law’s early innovator grant (designed to assist states with the technical aspects of establishing exchanges). Now, Coyer is going even further, misrepresenting the law by claiming that it says the opposite of what it actually says. The law specifically prohibits exchanges from determining which treatments are “necessary to prevent patients’ deaths“:

(1) In general.—An Exchange may certify a health plan as a qualified health plan if—

(A) such health plan meets the requirements for certification as promulgated by the Secretary under subsection (c)(1); and
(B) the Exchange determines that making available such health plan through such Exchange is in the interests of qualified individuals and qualified employers in the State or States in which such Exchange operates, except that the Exchange may not exclude a health plan

(i) on the basis that such plan is a fee-for-service plan;
(ii) through the imposition of premium price controls; or
(iii) on the basis that the plan provides treatments necessary to prevent patients’ deaths in circumstances the Exchange determines are inappropriate or too costly.

Republican Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger dismissed Colyer’s criticism, saying, “I can guarantee you that there are no death panels in the federal law,” and Republican Sen. Pete Brungardt said the state passed on “a rather huge opportunity” in turning down the federal dollars. In fact, the alleged rationing provision is a new discovery for Colyer, who failed to mention it in explaining why the state sent back the dollars during a recent interview.