Nixon signs bill to protect seniors, not ready to commit on health care exchanges | St. Louis Public Radio

Nixon signs bill to protect seniors, not ready to commit on health care exchanges

Jul 11, 2012

The idea of a health care exchange in Missouri continues to be a political sticking point between Republicans and Democrats.

Today, Governor Jay Nixon did his best to sidestep the issue.

In fact, Nixon says he hasn’t really looked at how the ballot measure is written.

As for the idea of health care exchanges in general, the governor isn’t ready to commit.

“There are choices to be made about Missouri being in charge of programs in Missouri, and I look to working with members of legislature to move forward where we can to improve the quality of healthcare in the state,” Nixon said.

Last week Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan released the official language for a healthcare exchange ballot measure.  

The measure reads:

Shall Missouri law be amended to deny individuals, families, and small businesses the ability to access affordable health care plans through a state-based health benefit exchange unless authorized by statute, initiative or referendum or through an exchange operated by the federal government as required by the federal health care act?

No direct costs or savings for state and local governmental entities are expected from this proposal. Indirect costs or savings related to enforcement actions, missed federal funding, avoided implementation costs, and other issues are unknown.

On Monday, Republican Lt. Governor Peter Kinder filed a lawsuit that alleges that wording is misleading.

Nixon was in St. Louis Wednesday to ceremonially sign a bill that he says will help protect the elderly and people with disabilities from abuse and financial exploitation.

Nixon says the bill will empower seniors to stand up for themselves.

“Both of these will empower seniors to step up when they’ve been the victim of financial exploitation or had physical abuse,” Nixon said.

The law expands the definition of “undue influence” to help protect seniors from family members who financially take advantage of seniors.

Nixon also says the bill sets a higher standard for caregivers and holds them accountable if they fail to seek proper medical assistance.