Anti- "Obamacare" amendment clears House

TOPEKA — The Health Care Freedom Amendment is halfway to the ballot.

The proposed state constitutional amendment is designed to prevent the federal government from mandating that individuals buy insurance, a requirement of the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and President Obama last year.

Most proponents of the bill argued that the measure would uphold states’ rights under the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution.

Other proponents acknowledged the opposition arguments that a state amendment could not trump federal law, but said it still sends a message of opposition on “Obamacare.”

Opponents argued that the measure is dishonest with Kansas voters because it implies their votes can shield them from tax penalties if they don’t obtain insurance.

For the amendment to become a part of the state Constitution, both the House and Senate must pass it by a two-thirds margin, followed by a majority vote of the electorate in the 2012 election.

The House was widely expected to approve the measure, which passed the 125-member body by a vote of 93-26.