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Posted on Tue, May. 04, 2010 11:01 PM
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Legislation opposing health insurance requirement advances in Missouri

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JEFFERSON CITY | Missouri voters would decide whether to pass a law allowing individuals to refuse a federal health insurance mandate under legislation passed Tuesday in the Senate.

The bill, which still must win approval in the House, is unusual in that it asks voters — rather than the governor — to make the final decision.

If approved, it would bar any law or rule from compelling a person, employer or health care provider to purchase health insurance. It’s meant to undermine the federal health care legislation passed in March, which will require everyone to purchase insurance beginning in 2014.

Proponents said the measure is necessary to relieve Missouri citizens and businesses of a burdensome federal requirement, while opponents called the bill politically motivated and effectively meaningless.

Allowing people and businesses to ignore the mandate will save them from the economic hardship of buying plans they don’t want or paying government-imposed fines for refusing to do so, said Sen. Jane Cunningham, a St. Louis County Republican who backs the measure.

At the very least, Cunningham argued, the law could form the basis of a legal challenge to the mandate.

Many Democrats, however, said state law cannot trump federal law, meaning the measure would have no effect whatsoever. They maintained that putting the issue on the ballot is only a Republican effort to motivate a segment of voters upset with the federal government.

To reach Jason Noble, call 573-634-3565 or send e-mail to jnoble@kcstar.com.

Posted on Tue, May. 04, 2010 11:01 PM
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