Commentary: Health care 'opt-out' resolutions amount to posturing

Missouri and Kansas both need full-throttle initiatives to create jobs and shore up their budgets.

So it's disheartening to see legislators in Jefferson City and Topeka devote excessive time and energy to attempts — in all likelihood symbolic — to opt out of federal health care reform legislation that hasn't even been finalized yet.

It's not helpful, for example, to call for constitutional amendments that would purport to exempt state residents from a federal mandate to purchase insurance. Federal legislation generally takes precedence over state constitutional amendments.

Opt-out resolutions are being considered in about half of the states. Though portrayed as responses to grass-roots movements, they are bankrolled and coordinated by groups affiliated with insurance companies, drugmakers and other medical interests.

The health care industry was the fourth largest contributor to Kansas political campaigns in 2008, spending $435,092, according to the nonpartisan National Institute on Money in State Politics.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.