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AARP Kansas, Insurance Commissioner Urge Veto of Harmful HealthCare Compact Bill

Topeka - AARP Kansas Director Maren Turner and Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger at a news conference urged Governor Brownback to veto House Bill 2553, a bill passed by the Kansas Legislature that would allow the state to join an Interstate Health Care Compact and place federal funding for all health care services in the state, including funding for such programs as Medicare, Medicaid, and Healthwave (children's health insurance) under the control of the state legislature and governor. They were joined at the news conference by representatives from Kansas Advocates for Better Care and the Kansas Medicaid Access Coaltion.

AARP Kansas has repeatedly testified in opposition to House Bill 2553 during the 2014 legislative session saying it was "frivolous" and Commissioner Praeger has spoken against the bill because, if approved by the Governor, it will place the health care of not only older Kansans at risk, but also the health care of children, veterans, and people with disabilities. It would also impact rural hospitals, Hospice and federally qualified health centers.

"Medicare is a guaranteed and stable program that more than 448,000 Kansans depend on for their health care needs," said Turner. "Placing this very popular program under the jurisdiction of the state not only increases the size of state government, but joining a health care compact reduces the amount of health benefits and protections as well as the much needed savings beneficiaries now enjoy."

"Supporters of the bill may tell you it doesn't affect Medicare, but that is just not true," said Praeger. "It could jeopardize the coverage and benefits that seniors have come to count on. It would be a serious mistake to turn the Medicare program over to state control. Kansans have paid into this program through payroll taxes and expect to receive the benefits they have been promised."

Since 1965, Medicare beneficiaries have relied on this essential program to provide for their health care needs. As a result, Medicare is one of the most popular federal programs in the country. A Harris Poll released in 2012 found that 88 percent of those polled support the health care program for seniors.

Turner and Praeger are asking Governor Brownback to veto House Bill 2553 on behalf of all Kansans who, if this legislation is approved, would be at risk of losing current benefits, having fewer choices and having less access to health care.

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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin;; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Espanol, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at

Mary Tritsch

Bob Hanson




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