This August, Missouri voters will be the first in the nation decide whether to accept the mandates included in the recently signed federal health care reform, thanks to a bill passed by its legislators.
On May 11, the Missouri House of Representatives approved a bill (HB 1764) that would ban a patient, employer or health care provider from participating in any government or privately run health care system, as well as prohibit any penalty for failing to participate in such a program.
The bill is a direct reaction to mandates under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which stipulates that all Americans must secure private health insurance by 2014 or face a fine.
Through the bill, Missouri residents will decide on the mandates in a referendum question on ballots Aug. 3. The measure does not require the approval of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.
Missouri’s Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has been a staunch opponent of the health reform plan signed by President Barack Obama and passed by Congress earlier this year. Kinder has gone as far as to hire an attorney to advise his office on the constitutionality of the new law and to create Health Care In Action, a private corporation/legal fund established to allow Missouri citizens to support anti-reform measures.
Regarding the state legislature’s actions, Kinder said both Republican and Democratic lawmakers “have ensured that the voters of Missouri will have the ultimate voice in directing their own health care decisions.
“Missouri taxpayers have overwhelming voiced opposition to the federal health care law and they will now be able to protect their individual rights,” he said in a statement. “I believe that the voters of Missouri will overwhelmingly support this referendum on the August ballot and stand up against this infringement on their personal freedoms.”