I spoke with someone at the Kansas Health Institute (KHI) today about SB 309, which caused the the war of words between the Huelskamp and Barnett campaigns.
According to my source, SB 309 was modeled on draft legislation prepared by The Heritage Foundation, and because of this, in 2007, it had the support of several conservative health policy experts. The same draft legislation, created by Edmund F. Haislmaier, was the blueprint for the Massachusetts Exchange or Connector. In fact, according to an article by David Frum, “Obamacare” does have a “broad family resemblance” to the Heritage proposal as well.
So, in 2007, it was very much in vogue to support the Heritage plan. In 2010, it’s radioactive. However, is it fair to put Obama and Barnett in a diner booth sharing a milkshake?
No, not really.
SB 309 was the product of a committee. Yes, it was a committee Barnett chaired, but it was not exclusively his bill. Plus, and not for nothing here, the bill was almost immediately changed because parts of it were controversial. What eventually was approved unanimously by the Senate was not the SB 309 that was originally submitted.
Are there parts of SB 309 that are, well, scary? Yes – specifically the idea that we would need to either have insurance or create a $10,000 expense account, either voluntarily or through garnishment of refunds and paychecks. However, that was one part of the bill, which dealt more with, according to a KHI analysis:
“(Establishing an) insurance connector within the Kansas Health Policy Authority for (the) limited purpose of providing to residents of Kansas, and other eligible individuals, greater access to and choice and portability of health insurance products.”
Granted, it’s easy to spin anything having to do with health care these days, and Barnett’s committee did let the $10,000 account through in the bill’s original language. However, it’s a stretch to imply that Barnett put forth, or supported, Obamacare before Obama. They were all reading from basically the same playbook that year.
I’ve attached KHI’s bill analysis below. Happy reading.