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.
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.
If passed, the state of Missouri would not recognize the federal Affordable Care Act, and any federal official who tries to enforce it in Missouri would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Also, any person who is targeted by a federal official seeking to enforce the ACA would have the right to sue that official. The sponsor, State Rep. Kurt Bahr (R, O’Fallon, Mo.), says the U.S. Constitution doesn’t give the federal government the right to force citizens to purchase anything.
Mo. Senator accuses state labor department of improperly manipulating wages with unions
A top Missouri Senate leader says the state labor department is improperly working with unions to manipulate wages paid on public works projects. The state calculates an annual "prevailing wage" for various construction trades in each county based on surveys of wages already paid on jobs.
Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, a Republican from Dexter, said Wednesday that state bureaucrats and labor unions had engaged in what he called "collusion.
Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 3:43 pm
On the final morning of its three-day health care law extravaganza, the U.S. Supreme Court wrestled with the question of whether parts of the 2010 federal statute can survive if the justices strike down its central tenet: the individual insurance requirement.
In other words, if the nine justices find the insurance mandate unconstitutional when they rule by June, would that mean that the entire law also fails the constitutionality test?
Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 11:01 pm
In its second-to-last argument over the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ponders a what-if.
Specifically, if the justices decide that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority in enacting the part of the law that requires most Americans to either have health insurance starting in 2014 or pay a penalty, does that invalidate the rest of the law? And if not, how much, if any, of the rest of the law should it strike down?
Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 7:11 pm
A clearly divided U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday took up the centerpiece of President Obama's health care law: its requirement that by 2014 individuals have insurance coverage or face a penalty.
In contrast to Monday's dense and technical arguments, Tuesday's session was filled with sharp rhetorical volleys and clever analogies. Here are some of the more telling exchanges between the lawyers and the high court justices.
Two rallies in Jefferson City today each called for the repeal of the 2010 Affordable Care Act and for employers to have the right to not provide coverage for birth control.
Several hundred people attended the rally held at the State Capitol, led by several religious leaders. Maggie Karner with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod told the crowd that President Obama’s birth control mandate is an attack on religious freedom.
“This debate is simply about us being forced to pay for products and services that are contrary to our religious beliefs, and we cannot be expected to check our faith at the door," Karner said.
The U.S. Supreme Court gets to the heart of the health care arguments Tuesday. Almost exactly two years after Congress passed the Obama health care overhaul, the justices are hearing legal arguments testing the constitutionality of the so-called health care mandate — so-called because those words actually do not appear in the law.