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25 March 2010

Joe Smith: House Republicans Oppose Federal Takeover of Health care, Seek to Safeguard Missourians

This week I have received several phone calls, letters and emails from Missouri citizens expressing their outrage with the health care legislation that President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have pushed through Congress.  I want my constituents to know that I share their outrage and in the House we are working to protect our citizens from these harmful federal mandates.

On Sunday evening, when the United States House of Representatives passed their health care bill, yielding over a thousand pages, they immediately took away our basic rights.  Congress and the President have ignored the cry of the American people and they pushed their own agenda – leaving our citizens to pick up the expensive tab.

We are now required to purchase health insurance whether we want to or not.  If we don't, there will be an annual fine close to $700.  Businesses are also affected by the bill.  They are forced to provide insurance to all employees, if their business employs over 50 people.  It doesn't stop there.  The bill also provides tax payer dollars for abortions.

There is a fine line when it comes to mandates, and the federal government has crossed that line.  It was difficult to watch the votes roll in the United States House of Representatives on Sunday evening.  Even though no Republican voted for the bill, the Democrat majority found the votes they needed to pass their bill.

The federal health care bill costs approximately $940 billion, which is concerning as we face such a serious economic depression, not to mention our national debt which has shot up into the trillions.  Someone has to pick up the tab, and that someone is you and me.  We will be taxed through penalties if we refuse to buy health care and adhere to federal guidelines.  Among many of the taxes set forth, a couple stand out:
  1. 3.8% tax on investment income for families making over $250,000 and individuals making over $200,000 starting in 2012
  2. 40% excise tax on so-called "Cadillac" insurance plans, which are essentially high-end insurance plans
I have no direct influence over the actions of our President and Congress, but I do have a say when it comes to what we do in the Missouri House of Representatives to protect citizens from federal health care mandates.  Why should the government dictate what you must and must not do – especially when it comes to your own health care insurance?

On the first day of this year's session, we introduced the Health Care Freedom Act [HJR57] on the floor of the House and approved it for final passage in early March.  Sponsored by Tim Jones, R – Eureka, it seeks to protect Missourians from health care mandates sent to us from the federal government.

The Health Care Freedom Act is a proposed constitutional amendment that gives individuals and employers the opportunity to pay directly for lawful health care services without being subject to federal penalties and states that the purchase or sale of health care insurance in private health care systems cannot be prohibited by law or rule. This Health Care Freedom Act is vital to the prosperity of the state of Missouri and our citizens.  If it passes the Senate, it will go to a vote of the people.  That means you will have the power to voice your support or opposition for this resolution.

Thirty-three states have filed legislation to oppose the federal health care legislation, and we are hopeful that you will join us in this fight.  States should retain the power to regulate health care and allow their citizens the freedom to choose between health care options in the open market.  The Missouri State Senate is debating Health Care Freedom Act this week in the State Senate so please contact them and ask them pass this legislation.

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