JEFFERSON CITY — Officials in Missouri are offering conflicting views on the potential impact of the health care bill approved Saturday by the U.S. House of Representatives.
The health care bill, approved with a 220-215 vote, had Missouri representatives split on partisan lines except for Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Jefferson City, who voted against the bill.
"This is not a positive for small businesses or families," said Lloyd Smith, the Missouri Republican Party's executive director. Under the plan, Smith said, the federal government would eventually be putting insurance companies out of business.
Amy Blouin, executive director of the Missouri Budget Project — a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization in St. Louis that analyzes state budgets and encourages a public policy voice for low-income Missouri residents — disagreed. Blouin said the bill would allow for an affordable option for families and small businesses.
"We've analyzed the bill, and it's a pretty solid compromise," she said.
Blouin called the passing of the bill a "significant step forward for a significant amount of people," and she said it "means so much to so many Missourians."
More than 200,000 people will be aided by the bill, especially low-income Missourians, she said.
Smith, however, said the bill's negatives "far outweighed the positives."
"It doesn't cover a lot, it's more expensive, and it needs tweaking," Smith said.
Smith said the problems that exist in the bill can be fixed with some tweaks. He said he likes reform but is not in favor of such a wide overhaul.
In an e-mail message, Jack Cardetti, a spokesman for Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, said, "The governor has been making his case that Congress must address this issue in a smart way that lowers premiums for families, provides greater access to care and doesn't place unreasonable unfunded mandates on state governments during tough fiscal times."
Cardetti declined a request for an interview.