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Legislators Propose Health Care Amendment to Kansas Constitution

By   /   October 27, 2009  /   News  /   1 Comment

Rep. Brenda Landwehr (R-Wichita), co-sponsor of a proposal to amend the Kansas Constitution, talks to a small gathering in Wichita. Others speaking about the proposal, from left, Dr. George Watson, Sen. Tim Huelskamp (R-Fowler), Derrick Sontag (AFP Kansas), Rep. Steve Brunk (R-Wichita), Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook (R-Shawnee), Rep. Peggy Mast (R-Emporia), Sen. Dick Kelsey (R-Goddard).

Rep. Brenda Landwehr (R-Wichita), co-sponsor of a proposal to amend the Kansas Constitution, talks to a small gathering in Wichita. Others speaking about or supporting the proposal, from left, Dr. George Watson, Sen. Tim Huelskamp (R-Fowler), Derrick Sontag (AFP Kansas), Rep. Steve Brunk (R-Wichita), Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook (R-Shawnee, co-sponsor), Rep. Peggy Mast (R-Emporia, co-sponsor), Sen. Dick Kelsey (R-Goddard).

A group of Kansas state legislators are proposing an amendment to the Kansas Constitution to preserve the freedom of Kansans to provide for their health care.

Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook (R-Shawnee) and Reps. Brenda Landwehr (R-Wichita) and Peggy Mast (R-Emporia) and other proponents of health care choice announced their effort to seek the amendment and their opposition to federal control of health care Tuesday.

Landwehr was first to address the audience gathered at the Wichita Independent Business Association about the proposed amendment.

“It will preserve and protect the rights of individuals to make their own health care and health insurance decisions. It doesn’t belong with the government. It doesn’t belong with our insurance companies. It belongs to the individuals. It also belongs to the physicians that we choose to do business with.”

The group planned bus stops in Wichita, Emporia, Topeka and Overland Park to make the announcement.

A news release (see bel0w) includes the text of the resolution and the proposed 16th Article to the Kansas Constitution which states in part:

“A law or rule shall not compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system.

“A person or employer may pay directly for lawful health care services and shall not be required to pay penalties or fines for paying directly for lawful health care services.”


Dr. George Watson

Dr. George Watson a Park City, Kansas, physician and president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, said he was there to help inoculate Kansans against the effects of “Potomac Fever.” He said the “fever” infects well-meaning representatives of both parties and causes swelling of the head to the point that they forget who elected them.

“With this swollen head the formerly sane representatives pass government mandates, many of which are unconstitutional and many are also unfunded.”

Watson said that the amendment might not protect federal representatives from infection but it will protect Kansas citizens from being effected by the epidemic in Washington.

During a brief question-and-answer period Watson said the group has their work cut out for them. “The fight is on right now between the government bureaucrats and the insurance companies and it is all about control. It isn’t about health care. It’s about control.

“We have to stand up for the patients in order to be sure that you as a patient have the freedom to choose which doctor you go to, which hospital you go to and the kind of care that you’re going to receive. And we can’t guarantee that we can change Washington but we can take a stand right here in the state for constitutional values and we can ask a question every time they pass something, ‘Is this constitutional?’ And a lot of it isn’t.”

Wichita Eagle reporter Dion Lefler asked Landwehr, “Does Kansas have the power to do this?” The quick response from the small audience included shouts of, “Yes we do,” and, “We created the federal government.”

“We’ve been given rights by the Constitution and we’re going to uphold those,” Landwehr said in response.

Much of the presentation and the group’s foundation are built on individual liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

During the 2009 legislative session Pilcher Cook and 23 other state senators co-sponsored Senate Concurrent Resolution 1615. The bill reaffirms the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, preserving to the people and the states all powers not specifically vested in the federal government. The bill, which will be high on the Senate’s agenda during the 2010 session, “serves notice to the federal government to cease and desist certain mandates; providing that certain federal legislation be prohibited or repealed; and directing distribution.”

Several states have already passed similar legislation reaffirming states rights under the 10th Amendment and others have bills pending. In June Arizona’s legislature approved legislation to constitutionally override any law, rule or regulation that requires individuals or employers to participate in any particular health care system. The measure will be on the 2010 ballot.

One Wichita audience member said the “hands off my health care” bus should be renamed, “hands off my freedom.”

Officials at the Overland Park Event

Officials at the Overland Park event (from left to right): State Senator Karin Brownlee (R-Olathe), Dr. George Watson (Wichita), State Senator Mary Pilcher Cook (R-Shawnee), State Rep. Brenda Landwehr (R-Wichita), State Rep. PeggyMast (R-Emporia), State Rep. Arlen Siegfreid (R-Olathe), State Rep. Mike Kiegerl (R-Olathe)

Watch video highlights of the press conference in Overland Park held after stops in Emporia and Topeka:

The  video above is about 9 minutes and 20 seconds long.  Here are some highlights:

0:00 State Senator Mary Pilcher Cook

Every American wants good quality health care. But you don’t get there through government coercion…

We Kansas citizens need to have liberty to make our own health care choices. That is on several different levels …

We want freedom in our state. The ever increasing encroachment of the federal government on state sovereignty is becoming onerous …

The health care freedom amendment will … stop the federal government from telling Kansas and Kansas citizens what kind of health care they have to have

1:05 State Rep Brenda Landwehr

The Kansas Health Care Freedom Act is about us having choice …

The Constitution says that our states have the right to their own sovereignty, and we’ve decided it’s time to stand up. We’re not alone in this battle …

2:32 State Rep Peggy Mast

… in regards to getting support from other house members and senate members, we just started …

2:39 Dr. George Watson, President, Association of American Physicians and Sugeons

help innoculate Kansans against the effects of Potomac fever

3:33 Questions and Answers. Q1: What is the position of the American Medical Association?

Dr. Watson explained the AMA represents 17% of doctors, and the importance of CPT codes to the revenue stream of the AMA — more important than member dues.

4:21 Question about whether doctors might retire instead of dealing with socialized medicine. Quote that 45% of doctors might consider retiring.

5:26 State Rep Brenda Landwehr: U.S. Congressman Todd Tiahrt expressed support for the proposed constitutional amendment.

5:49 State Rep Arlen Siegfreid

The State of Kansas is broke. … The Federal government has no way to pay for this. …. We [the states] have no way to pay for this.

6:10 Audience comment about state sovereignty never being mentioned on the news. “The Constitution doesn’t seem to matter”

6:40 State Rep Peggy Mast

Our job is to represent you, not to represent the government

7:19 Derrick Sontag, AFP Kansas, about their efforts in the health care debate

7:36 State Senator Mary Pilcher Cook:  Comments about Tea Parties and caution about throwing everyone out of office. Don’t throw away the “gold nuggets” that you have.

8:20 State Rep Brenda Landwehr: Health care choice should be a fundamental right.

8:32 State Senator Mary Pilcher Cook: “Support is growing” Our liberty is very much at stake.

8:55 Audience comment: … this is not just about health care. This is about freedom …

Here is the press release and draft legislation for a proposed 16th amendment to the Kansas Constitution:

Health Care Freedom in Kansas


Johnson County coverage by Earl Glynn.


Paul formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.