Health Care

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder has lost another round in his battle against President Obama’s federal health care law.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the Republican Lt. Governor has no legal standing to file suit because the Affordable Care Act poses no immediate threat to Kinder’s legally protected interests.  He filed suit two years ago as an individual, not in his official capacity as Lt. Governor.  The three-judge panel’s ruling did not address the constitutionality of the federal health care law, most of which was upheld last year in a 5-4 ruling by the U-S Supreme Court.

(via Flickr/brains the head)

A federal judge in St. Louis has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the contraception mandate of the federal health care law.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of Frank O'Brien and his company, O'Brien Industrial Holdings LLC of St. Louis, was one of nearly three dozen cases nationally challenging the constitutionality of regulations in the health care law. Among other things, O'Brien, a devout Catholic, claimed the requirement to pay for birth control infringes on his religious beliefs.

(Via Flickr/Rosemary)

Illinois has chosen a Blue Cross Blue Shield small group policy as the benchmark plan for essential health benefits in the state, another milestone in implementing President Barack Obama's health care law.

Friday's decision comes from Gov. Pat Quinn's health care council. It will determine the cost of future premiums and how broad coverage will be for many patients. Policies sold in Illinois must match the actuarial value of the benchmark plan.

(Veronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

When the US Supreme Court upheld the federal health care law in June, it ruled that states couldn’t be penalized for failing to expand their Medicaid programs.

After the ruling, Missouri was one of a number of states that seemed ready to opt out of Medicaid expansion. Many in the Republican-led state legislature say expanding insurance coverage for low-income Missourians would cost too much.

But as St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra reports, without Medicaid expansion, Missouri’s working poor could be among those paying the biggest price.

(via Flickr/hlkljgk)

Updated 4:15 p.m. Thursday: Carnahan will not appeal Judge Green's new language, saying Attorney General Chris Koster refused a request for further legal action, and the Secretary of  State's office is not in a position to appeal on its own.  A full version of today's developments can be found here.

Our original story:

The language used in a ballot initiative approved by Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) has been tossed out by a Cole County judge.

Proposition E centers on the conditions for creating a health care exchange in Missouri; the language authorized by Carnahan read in part whether the law should “deny individuals, families and small businesses the ability to access affordable health care.”  Lt. Governor Peter Kinder (R) called the language used by the Secretary of State unbelievably biased.

In-school health clinic opening at Roosevelt High

Aug 30, 2012
(Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)

Students at Roosevelt High School in St. Louis can now access medical care through an in-school health clinic.

The clinic is operated by Mercy Hospital and received funding through $500,000 grant from Boeing.

Crystal Gale is the Principal of Roosevelt High.  She says the facility will provide basic medical services for students, as well as the children of students.

(via Flickr/Jennifer Boriss)

(Update:  Judge Daniel Green ruled in favor of Lt. Gov. Kinder and changed the ballot language initially approved by Sec. of State updated version of this story can be found here.)

A Cole County judge heard arguments today in a lawsuit that claims Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) deliberately used misleading language in a ballot initiative regarding the creation of a health insurance exchange.

The language in question asks in part if the law should “deny individuals, families and small businesses the ability to access affordable health care.”  Attorney Jay Kanzler represents Lt. Governor Peter Kinder (R) and a group of Republican legislative leaders who filed suit.

(via Flickr/hlkljgk)

A Cole County judge heard arguments Friday on whether to issue a temporary restraining order against Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D).

Carnahan and Republican leaders are sparring over the language used in a ballot initiative regarding health care exchanges.  Lt. Governor Peter Kinder and GOP lawmakers accuse Carnahan of using misleading language in order to influence voters to defeat the ballot question in November.  Attorney Jay Kanzler represents the plaintiffs.

“Secretary of State Carnahan's language talking about denying families and individuals access to affordable health care frankly doesn’t even come close to describing, in fact, what the ballot initiative would do,” Kanzler said.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

St. Charles County voters could face two anti-smoking ballot measures

St. Charles County voters could face not one but two ballot measures in November that would restrict smoking.

(via Flickr/Jennifer Boriss)

A Missouri judge has scheduled two hearings this month on a challenge to the ballot language of a health care measure that goes before voters in November.

The lawsuit by Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and several top GOP lawmakers contends the ballot summary is unfair and misleading. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, a Democrat, wrote the summary.

Online court records show Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green will hear arguments Friday and again on Aug. 28.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

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.

House votes to repeal health care law

Jul 11, 2012

With a vote of 244 to 185, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives just voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's signature domestic legislation known colloquially as "Obamacare."

Of course, the vote doesn't matter, because the measure has a very slim chance of being adopted by the Senate.

The AP reports that this is the "33rd time in 18 months that the tea party-infused GOP majority has tried to scrap, defund or scale back the law since grabbing the majority."

The AP adds:

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder (R) and GOP legislative leaders have filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) over the language used in a ballot initiative regarding health care exchanges.

The language approved by Carnahan asks if the law should 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.”  Kinder says the language skews the ballot question’s true purpose, to bar the governor from creating an exchange by executive order.

(Courtesy Missouri Foundation for Health)

A new report by the Missouri Foundation for Health estimates that about two-thirds of Missouri's more than 800,000 uninsured could get health insurance under the federal health care law  - and the county-level data suggest that rural counties will benefit the most.

The analysis uses census data to project how the number of uninsured could change in every county in Missouri under the Affordable Care Act.

File photo

House Speaker Steven Tilley says there is no need for a special session to decide whether Missouri should opt out of a Medicaid expansion.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

US Senator Claire McCaskill is speaking out for the first time in the St. Louis area on the Supreme Court's health care ruling

The Missouri Democrat told supporters today at a party campaign office in St. Charles that she stands firm in her support of President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

She also says the solutions for fixing health care offered by her Republican opponents would be a burden to seniors.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Elana Gordon of KCUR reported for this story.

Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder is once again filing suit against a health care measure. He and some other Republican lawmakers have announced plans to challenge the secretary of state’s office on newly issued ballot language for a health care measure that’s slated to appear on the November ballot.

UPDATED on Friday, July 6, 2012, to add a correction from Anthem's Deborah Wiethop.

Some 588,000 Missourians will get money back from their health insurance companies this month.

The federal healthcare law requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on health care and quality improvement. The rest can go to administrative costs, marketing and profits.

(Visualization: courtesy Matt Stiles)

For a different look at today's health care ruling, check out this fun word visualization. It's an interactive word tree put together by Matt Stiles and posted on his blog, The Daily Viz.

(Matt also happens to be Data Editor of News Apps at NPR).

Try out the tool below with your own phrases, maybe "health" or "cost" or "tax" - you decide.

(via Flickr/Phil Roeder)

Will be updated.

Updated 5:06 p.m. with more information.

As we reported this morning, the Supreme Court has held that the federal healthcare law is constitutional.

That includes the individual mandate that requires almost all Americans to buy health insurance by 2014.

The Court called the penalty that someone must pay for refusing to buy insurance a kind of tax that the Congress can impose under the Constitution.

Health Insurance Exchanges

Some will turn to the online marketplaces known as health insurance exchanges to fulfill the mandate.

The director of health policy for the Missouri Foundation for Health, Ryan Barker, says Missouri is one of a couple dozen states that have resisted setting up a state health insurance exchange.

This was a post from an earlier event. Thank you for joining us here.

For more on the Supreme Court's decision about the federal health care law, see our full coverage here.


President Obama is expected to address the nation shortly regarding the US Supreme Court's decision on the federal health care law, handed down this morning.

Watch it with us live below or listen on air at 90.7FM or online here.


The Supreme Court ruled today that the 2010 Affordable Care Act is constitutional — giving the Obama administration a big election year win over conservative critics who argue that the health care overhaul is a step on the way toward socialized medicine.

The biggest surprise Thursday morning at the Supreme Court will be if the justices do not issue their most-anticipated decision of the year — on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act; the health care overhaul enacted in 2010.

Rosmary via Flickr

An Illinois Democrat who has led work on implementing a key part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul now says the state won't be ready to run its own insurance exchange by a Nov. 16 deadline.

Rep. Frank Mautino says Illinois must consider a new option - a state-federal partnership - to get its online insurance marketplace ready for its first year if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the law this week.

With the United States Supreme Court's decision on healthcare expected to come on Thursday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon broke with his party on Monday over a key part of the legislation.

Speaking with reporters in St. Louis, Governor Nixon sounded more like a Republican when asked about the impending decision.

Referring to the Affordable Care Act as the “Washington Healthcare Law” Nixon spoke out against the key ingredient of President Obama’s signature legislation—the so-called individual mandate requiring people to purchase health insurance.

(via Flickr/Congress of local and regional authorities)

A report from KCUR's Elana Gordon.

This fall, voters in Missouri will face a number of decisions: picking state and congressional representatives, the President.  But also on the ballot will be a measure that like two years ago, has to do with the federal health law. 

It follows months of political tension over a key component.

(via Flickr/rosmary)

Illinois hospitals would be required to provide free care to some low-income people under a bill passed by the Legislature and headed to the governor's desk.

Urban hospitals would have to provide free treatment to patients with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

That's about $46,000 for a family of four.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri lawmakers continue debating bills in the closing minutes of the 2012 regular session.

Among the bills passed so far today is one that would require legislative approval before a health care exchange can be created in Missouri.  State Rep. Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) accused Governor Jay Nixon (D) of trying last year to create an exchange via executive order.

(via Flickr/Jennifer_Boriss)

The Missouri House has approved legislation allowing health care providers to refuse to participate in some tasks that violate their religious or ethical beliefs.

Wednesday's 117-37 vote sends the bill back to the Senate to consider changes made by the House.

The measure prohibits punishment of doctors, nurses and other health care workers who refuse to participate in contraception, abortions, embryonic stem cell research and certain other procedures or research.

(via Flickr/Jennifer_Boriss)

An Illinois House committee wants to take away a perk for government retirees who get a big break on health insurance.

State employees who work for 20 years pay no insurance premium in retirement. A measure to end that benefit cleared the  House Executive Committee, which is controlled by Democrats, without opposition Wednesday.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees opposes the legislation.