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25 March 2010

Nance: Federal Healthcare Reform, Court Upholds Damages Cap, State Budget Vote

At left: Visiting last week from Lawson and Liberty were Amy, Jennifer, Jake, Isabelle and William Kanning. They took tours of the Capitol, Governor’s Mansion and Whispering Chamber.

"The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem." –Milton Friedman

Federal Healthcare Reform

Many of you have contacted me about the health insurance reform bill passed late Sunday night and signed into law on Tuesday.  You have asked that the state legislature respond by opting out of this plan and protect state sovereignty.

In early March, we passed the Health Care Freedom Act (HJR 57), sponsored by Tim Jones, R – Eureka.  This resolution, which ultimately depends on a vote of the people, proposes a constitutional amendment that provides a shield to safeguard Missourians who do not wish to participate in the federal health care mandate.  The proposal specifically focuses on preventing Missourians from being penalized and taxed for not following Washington D.C.'s requirements of forced health care coverage.

With the passage and signing into law of healthcare reform, we are learning more about the way Washington really works. "Deemed passed" and "reconciliation" are everyday terms now, but the semi-final result of the healthcare law has certainly stirred emotions on both sides.

Should the United States government require health insurance coverage be purchased by all Americans?  Nothing in our Constitution allows this intrusion on our personal freedoms. We all want continued coverage for pre-existing conditions and there are some good parts of the bill. But most are angry with the process, the deals, and the fact that even the Congress cannot tell us what is in the law they just passed. Medicare and Medicaid were simple compared to the 2,700 pages plus that is contained in this law. Medicare costs are now nine times what was originally predicted.

How will the state raise the funds to meet our portion of the cost of increased healthcare coverage mandated by the federal government? The only guarantee we have is the IRS will absolutely collect the taxes and penalties the law calls for with its new 16,500 employees.

The US Debt Clock

To see what is happening with our federal debt and what it source is you can visit The US Debt Clock at:

You can see each and every source for the information contained in the clock by passing your cursor over the specific numbers. Sources for the clock include:  CBO, Federal Reserve, US Treasury, US Census, and the OMB.

Court Upholds Cap on Noneconomic Damages

The Missouri Supreme Court issued its opinion Tuesday in Klotz v. Shapiro, a challenge to the state's statutory $350,000 per case cap on noneconomic damages awarded in medical malpractice cases. The court ruled only that the new damage limits do not apply retroactively to injuries that occurred prior to the effective date of the law. However, in its ruling, the court did not overturn the noneconomic damage cap. The statute was enacted in 2005.

State Budget

House Budget Chair Icet was praised this week for his work on the budget process and the bipartisanship exhibited in the budget committee.

Representative Maynard Wallace offered an amendment for school funding to be the same as the previous year and was also praised by democrats for his work and the need to balance the budget with such a tough decision. They, however, voted against his amendment. In the end, however, the final budget vote had more bipartisan support than I have seen in six years.

Many members consider the election year politics and won't vote for the budget. With revenues down, our state is facing a serious budget crisis. The House made the first major rounds of spending reductions for the budget, and will now continue negotiations with the Senate for further reductions needed to balance the budget, keep the state debt low, and set a climate where our economy can recover.

In the Capitol

HB 1625 dealing with S-CHIP passed out of the Insurance Committee Wednesday.  The Senior Citizen Advocacy Committee heard HB 1737 regarding Universal Design in Affordable Housing which would set standards and requirements for the construction and rehabilitation of affordable units.

Jane St. John was at the Capitol promoting awareness of Disability Rights Legislative Day.

A Visit to Orrick's 4th grade class

On the 15th of March, I was invited by Mrs. Holm to speak to Orrick's 4th grade class. I shared my job responsibilities and answered their questions about government. (Picture below)

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