Missouri Senate leader wants to target health care law

Monday, January 9, 2012 | 9:35 a.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY — The leader of the Missouri Senate hopes two measures targeting the federal health care law will be among the first debated in his chamber this year.

Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, a Republican from Dexter, supports a measure that would ask voters to amend the state constitution to prohibit government mandates to have health insurance. Missouri voters overwhelmingly passed a similar law in 2010. But the proposed amendment could have greater strength, and would put the issue back on the ballot as President Barack Obama seeks re-election.

Mayer also backs a bill to prohibit creation of a state-run health insurance exchange unless specifically authorized by the Legislature or voters. The federal health care law gives states until 2014 to create such exchanges, or else federal officials will do so.


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Ken Geringer January 9, 2012 | 3:24 p.m.

I still don't get what's wrong with a plan that increases health coverage and saves money.
Except of course, you can't make me, and I don't care.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 9, 2012 | 4:09 p.m.

One flaw is that the law allows premiums to reflect only about 35% of the cost of lifestyle choices such as obesity and smoking. Another flaw is that the law doesn't increase the number of physicians to accommodate all of the newly insured who now seek medical care. The wait times in Massachusetts have stretched into months after enactment of its law, which is the model for the national one. Being forced to pay for a service isn't the same as guaranteeing that the service will be available when you want it.

(Report Comment)
Ken Geringer January 9, 2012 | 4:53 p.m.

Mr B, I'm not sure about the lifestyle part of your argument. What's to be done with those so inflicted?

Rather, how about the seeming argument that if we have many more people seeking healthcare that there won't be enough healthcare available for them.

Seems to me that if you have the money you can and will fly off to Mexico or India or Singapore and get your procedure done right now.

So it's just the poor, or middle class, or anyone that can't afford the best insurance that not only is clogging up the health care system, but is making you wait, because you don't fall in to the I can get whatever I want, whenever I want it group.

Or, what?

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 9, 2012 | 5:22 p.m.

"I'm not sure about the lifestyle part of your argument. What's to be done with those so inflicted?"

Their premiums should reflect the additional cost of their care. This isn't a new or unique concept, of course. For decades, private insurance companies have charged smokers higher rates because smokers typically have required more and expensive care. More recently, Illinois considered eliminating tax breaks for parents of obese kids. All of these policies, laws and initiatives acknowledge the fact that people need to be held financially responsible for their oversized burden to society.

On the incentives side, before the new law, they couldn't be more than 20% of the premium. Congressional committees increased it to 30% and gave the government the ability to increase it to 50%, but I don't recall what the amount is in the final law.

(Report Comment)

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