This is Sandy Praeger’s final year as Kansas insurance commissioner. Praeger has a national reputation for expertise on health care issues and a lengthy, unbroken string of election victories as a Republican in a GOP-leaning state, however on one issue she seems to stand alone.
Praeger publicly champions the Affordable Care Act. She argues the federal health care overhaul was a positive step that could help millions of uninsured Americans and that, even with the problems with its administration, it’s an improvement according to The Wichita Eagle.
“When people start seeing the benefit and experiencing the benefit, it will be hard to push back,” she said.
Later, she added, “The reason for opposing it was a way of Republicans being in opposition to the president. There’s just no logical reason to be opposed to this – none.”
Praeger is stepping down in down in January 2015, after serving as the state’s insurance regulator for 12 years. She and her husband Mark, a Lawrence physician, are retiring.
Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration returned a $31.5 million federal grant for setting up the computer infrastructure within Kansas for the state’s online insurance marketplace in 2011. Brownback also decided against having the state partner with the federal government on the health insurance marketplace in Kansas in 2012, going against Praeger’s advice.