JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's legislature joined a list of states where lawmakers are attempting to block aspects of the new federal health care act.
The Senate Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee met Tuesday, Jan. 28, to discuss a bill that would ban state and local government workers from assisting in enforcement of the law's insurance mandate. It also would suspend the license of any insurance company that cooperated in enforcement for coverage of the costs of identifying persons with or without health insurance.
Following the leads of lawmakers from South Carolina and Georgia, the Senate bill known as the Health Care Freedom Act, would prohibit state government workers from assisting in federal efforts to collect penalties for failing to have health insurance. According to the law, if passed, it would be a state's right to have or not to have health insurance.
In June 28, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal health care act, citing it as a tax rather than a mandate and therefore ruled constitutional.
The bill relies primarily on the U.S. Constitution's 10th Amendment, citing that taking control of the health care system is not an enumerated power granted to the Federal Government.
"States do not have to participate in the implimentation of federal laws they do not like," said Ron Calzone, a board director from Missouri First and an advocate for the bill. "It's the state's perogative to resist by not participating."
The bill would also suspend the licenses of health insurance issuers who accept "any renumeration that may result in the imposition of penlaties contrary to Missouri's public policy." The license suspention would only be lifted if the issuer returned the subsidies and denied any further renumeration.
Opponents of the bill urged lawmakers to hold off on a hasty decision until lawsuits in Oklahoma relating to the federal health care act reach their respective verdicts.
The committee did not take immediate action or vote on the bill during the meeting.