Gov. Laura Kelly vetoes plan she calls ‘junk insurance’

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Governor Laura Kelly announced a veto striking down a proposal that would have changed short-term insurance plans Thursday afternoon.

“There are just all sorts of things in here that are really bad for consumers and so I vetoed this just out of concern for Kansans,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “There are better options.”

The major sticking point was preexisting conditions, which don’t have to be covered by short-term insurance.

“Junk insurance – which doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions or provide consumer protections – is just that, ‘junk.’ Signing this bill would cause more Kansas families to go bankrupt over medical bills. If the Legislature wants to get serious about improving access to health care, they should join 38 other states and the District of Columbia and pass Medicaid expansion.”

Governor Laura Kelly

The legislature passed the bill earlier this month. Under current law, short-term insurance plans can be up to one year, with a renewal option, meaning they could last to two years. This would have allowed for them to last up to three years.

Supporters said giving Kansans options was important.

“In those few instances where a short-term plan may make sense, again, I think it extends that possibility of the use of that plan and the renewability and for that reason, I support the bill,” Assaria Rep. Steven Johnson said when the bill was debated on the House floor.

The goal of short-term plans is to provide temporary sickness and accident insurance on a short-term basis. Preexisting conditions include health problems a person had before coverage started don’t have to be covered. So a company could choose who it wanted to insure.

“The gap policy does serve a purpose in that it helps someone get from one policy to the next, but you don’t have the consumer protections that you have in a regular ACA product,” Beloit Representative Susan Concannon said earlier this month. She voted against the bill.

The plan passed with full Republican support in the Senate 29 to 11, but wasn’t as popular in the House, passing 68 to 51. Lawmakers would need two thirds of each chamber to override the governor’s veto. That would take 84 votes in the House, while the Senate is already over the needed amount.

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