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Representatives ask attorney general to sue over health care law

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 | 11:12 p.m. CDT; updated 8:48 p.m. CDT, Thursday, April 15, 2010
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Attorneys general in 14 states are suing the federal government over health care reform. Virginia filed separately. All but one of the attorneys general are Republicans. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has not joined the lawsuit, but is still observing the situation, according to spokeswoman Nanci Gonder. Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has expressed his intention to personally participate in the lawsuit if Koster does not.

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri's attorney general was absent from a House General Laws committee hearing where representatives discussed calling on him to sue the federal government for violating the constitution with its passage of health care legislation.

Attorney General Chris Koster had said previously he would look into the matter. But at the hearing Tuesday, resolution sponsor Rep. Ward Franz, R-West Plains, said Koster has said he will not pursue a lawsuit against the federal government.

Representatives discussed state sovereignty, fiscal responsibility and the Civil War at the hearing about a resolution that would encourage Koster to make Missouri a party to existing lawsuits by more than a dozen other states against the new federal health care law.

Koster was not available for comment Tuesday.

Franz said the debate isn't on policy, but on the size and scope of the federal government.

"Whether you support or oppose the recently passed federal health care bill, I think it's important that we make a stand and say 'enough is enough,'" Franz said.

Rep. Beth Low, D-Kansas City, said asking Koster to file suit against the federal government seemed unnecessary because Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder already pledged to take up the issue. Adding another elected statewide official, she said, would be a poor usage of taxpayers' resources.

Franz said Koster's involvement with the suit would make it a more well-rounded effort on the state's behalf.

Some Democrats on the committee said the resolution was a manifestation of the state sovereignty struggle.

"At what point are we going to allow that portion of history to rest and move on as one nation?" Low asked Franz. "I thought the answer was received in 1865, but 150 years later, apparently, we're still having it."

Rep. Mark Parkinson, R-St. Charles, said the comparison of the two eras in the country's history wasn't valid.

"I think this analogy with states' rights dealing with the Civil War is incredibly flawed because the federal government before the pre-Civil War era didn't mandate that everyone purchase a slave," he said

That discussion evolved into one about state secession.

Rep. Don Calloway, D-St. Louis, questioned what merit Franz saw belonging to the Union.

"What do we get out of being in the Union?" he asked. "Would you be in favor of seceding?"

Franz initially responded that he would be interested in secession if things continue the way they are, but eventually refocused on what he said was the need for Missouri's voice to be heard.

"I'm not saying we need to leave the Union," Franz said. "I just want us to be heard, and this is the only way that I feel like we will be listened to."

No action was taken on the resolution.


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Comments

DeAnna Noriega April 14, 2010 | 9:57 a.m.

The resolution to opt out of health care reform makes Missouri seem like the defiant child yelling, "You're not the boss of me. Proponents object to the high cost of health care on one hand and then decry the means to lower it by having everyone obligated to pay for it. If only those wise enough to realize that illness can strike anyone at any time and take steps to protect themselves buy health insurance, then costs will continue to rise until only the very rich can afford insurance. By accepting that we all must put our money in can costs be contained. Why is it alright for the federal government to ask us to support military actions abroad and not fight those things that adversely effect those of us living within its borders? When a task is too large for individual states to handle, then the combined might of the nation is brought to bear. Missouri already accepts federal dollars to aid in meeting the costs for health care for the poorest, what is so different then in making sure that the hard working middle classes can access health care they can afford? Why do some of our governing body want to waste limited revenues on arguing against giving our citizens access to affordable health care for all. This same legislature has been busily cutting vital programs because they lack the funds to pay for them. If they could do better at the state level, we wouldn't need the federal government to step up to handling the problem.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 14, 2010 | 10:49 a.m.

DeAnna Noriega wrote:

"then decry the means to lower it by having everyone obligated to pay for it."

Let's be clear. That does nothing to lower the cost of health care. It lowers what certain people will pay out of pocket for health care. Nothing in the health care bill actually lowers the actual cost of health care. Indeed, lowering health care costs is something that with our present system, is largely outside the scope of legislation.

DK

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 14, 2010 | 2:24 p.m.

Being able to purchase insurance across state lines and ala carte insurance without all services mandated by the state would be two ways to reduce health insurance, neither of which are in the recent "reform" bill. Health savings accounts, which I believe were to be axed under an earlier version of the bill but survived, are another method as well. Paying for routine services out of pocket with tax-free dollars while having a high-deductible insurance plan to cover any serious injuries or operations makes sense to me. I had such a plan at a previous employer for a couple years and loved it. The reduced monthly premiums compared to the "regular" PPO plan more than offset any out of pocket costs in my opinion.

(Report Comment)
Dan Dothage April 15, 2010 | 1:40 a.m.

DeAnna Noriega wrote:

"Missouri already accepts federal dollars to aid in meeting the costs for health care for the poorest, what is so different then in making sure that the hard working middle classes can access health care they can afford?"

Yeah, wasted money on bankrupt programs...Medicare and Medicaid. Try living in England or Canada for a few years and see if you like their socialized health care. Guaran-damn-tee you'd like what we HAD.

What people like you do not realize is that it's not about health care and providing for those who are too poor. If it was, the stupid "stimulus" bill these idiots passed would have covered all the legals and illegals that didn't have health care in this country. No, instead it's about the Government running every aspect of your life so that you do not have a decision of your own. These elitists think that they can run your life better than you can. Maybe you want to roll over, but I'll go down fighting with the rest of the true American's here.

Dan in Iraq

(Report Comment)

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