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25 March 2010

Nodler: The Fight Against Mandated Healthcare: Giving Missourians a Voice

I joined many of you this week in disbelief as Congress voted to support a healthcare bill that forces all U.S. citizens to purchase healthcare. It violates the personal freedoms that our great nation was founded on and ignores the cries of outrage from citizens throughout the country. On a state level, however, we are working to ensure that Missourians have a voice with Senate Joint Resolution 25, legislation I co-sponsored, that would provide Missouri citizens with a line of defense against this federal mandate.

The federal healthcare bill that was signed into law this week institutes government mandates that will only increase costs and bureaucratic red tape in the healthcare system. It hurts businesses by mandating that they cover their employees. Consumers are the ones who will have to foot this bill as businesses pass on the costs of this coverage to their customers. An unprecedented individual mandate will force citizens to face serious fines if they are not insured. It saddens me that the implications of this $940 billion plan will be felt by our children and grandchildren as federal costs increase and the quality of healthcare in this nation declines.

Heightening costs will also create a serious funding dilemma for states. The healthcare plan forces a massive Medicaid expansion that would cost Missouri taxpayers $1.34 billion over the next 10 years. The federal government has tried to sway states by offering to foot the bill or the expansion until 2017, when the state would pick up 5 percent of the cost. Ultimately, the burden to pay for the expansion is still on the shoulders of you, the taxpayer, whether the check is signed by the state or by the feds.

We took time this week to fight these actions and protect the rights of citizens in this state. We debated SJR 25, a constitutional amendment that, upon voter approval, would provide that no federal law can compel a patient, employer, or healthcare provider in our state to participate in any government or privately run healthcare system. It protects the right of patients and employers to pay directly for legal healthcare services.

Last week, I discussed the importance of protecting our state’s sovereignty. Our country’s Constitution does not give the federal government the power to make citizens enter into private contracts against their will. At this writing, 13 other state attorneys general have filed a lawsuit to try to protect their states and challenge the federal healthcare mandate. The lieutenant governor announced that he will seek to join them, and I support his efforts and hope that Missouri can successfully challenge this misguided attempt at healthcare reform.

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