Sandy Praeger, the last of the common-sense Kansas Republicans
The Kansas City Star
Every Kansas statewide officeholder and member of Congress grumped on Thursday about the Supreme Court’s passage of “Obamacare.”
“I’m proud to be part of a country that says everybody ought to have access to health care services and a means to pay for them,” said Kansas insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger. “And finally, we’re there.”
Praeger is the last of the old-guard, pragmatic, Nancy Kassebaum-style Republicans to hold statewide office in Kansas. The former mayor of Lawrence has held public office since the 1980’s, serving three terms in the Kansas Senate before being elected insurance commissioner in 2002.
While fellow Kansas Republicans holding statewide and federal offices have supported the prerogative of insurance companies to gouge consumers and deny coverage to sick people, Praeger has always described access to affordable health care as a right that should be available to all Americans.
As chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ insurance and managed care committee, she knows the ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act. And while she doesn’t hesitate to question whether some of the provisions will work, she is supportive of the main goal — universal access to affordable health insurance.
On Thursday, while the Congressional delegation huffed over the Supreme Court ruling and Gov. Sam Brownback indicated he would hold off on implementing parts of the law in hopes of a GOP sweep in the November elections, Praeger advised Kansas leaders to get moving.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” she said. The state needs to act long before November if it is to have any input in the health insurance “exchange,” (basically an on-line marketplace) that the Affordable Care Act requires.
“Maybe we have a difference of opinion,” she said of Brownback. “But I’d rather keep our options open than put all my eggs in the basket of repeal and replace.”
Good for her. Kansas used to be known for that kind of common sense. Nice to know it hasn’t disappeared entirely.