A nation debates: the federal health care law

The latest coverage related to the debate over the federal health care law - both in the US Supreme Court and how it touches the St. Louis region.

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Morning round-up
9:25 am
Wed April 27, 2011

Morning headlines: Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Young boys attempt to push a car from flood waters in downtown Poplar Bluff, Missouri on April 26, 2011. A levee on the Black River protecting the area from major flooding has breached in several places, forcing authorities to evacuate residents.
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Flooded Poplar Bluff Hit with More Rain

The southern Missouri town of Poplar Bluff endured another night of torrential rain, this time dropping another two inches of water onto already saturated ground.

 The Black River levee that protects the town's low-lying neighborhoods survived Tuesday night. The earthen wall was breached yesterday south of town, which flooded farmland, but released pressure within city limits.

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Health Care Taxes
12:58 pm
Wed April 13, 2011

Mo. Senate passes extension of health care taxes

(via Flickr/CarbonNYC)

The Missouri Senate has passed legislation extending several health care taxes that help generate about $3 billion annually for state's Medicaid program.

The special taxes are levied on such things hospitals, nursing homes and pharmacies. They are used to draw down federal Medicaid money, which is then distributed to health care providers through various programs.

Missouri's health care taxes are to expire Sept. 30.

Federal Health Care Law
10:18 am
Mon April 11, 2011

Koster: federal insurance mandate unconstitutional

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster
(Official Portrait, Missouri Attorney General's office)

Updated 4:35 p.m. April 11, 2011 with comment from Jones and Tilley.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says Congress overstepped its constitutional powers under the commerce clause when it mandated that most Americans have health insurance or pay a penalty.

Koster says he filed a document (see below) Monday with a federal appeals court supporting a Florida lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new federal health care law.

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Health rebates in Illinois
2:03 pm
Wed March 23, 2011

More health rebates for Illinois residents

A doctor's stethoscope
(Via Flickr/Rosemary)

Today is the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s health care reform law. Despite threats to repeal the law, Illinois’ top insurance regulator said people are better protected and covered under the law.

After one year of being in effect the law has managed to round up plenty of support but also plenty of disdain.

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Federal Health Care Law
11:31 am
Tue March 22, 2011

Mo. AG: Health care overhaul has uncertain legal status

Mo. Attorney General Chris Koster.
(Official Portrait, Missouri Attorney General's office)

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says the federal health care law's legal fate is still uncertain.

Koster's statement comes in response to three Republican officials who asked him whether he thought the law could be enforced in Missouri.

Two federal judges upheld the health care overhaul. A third struck down the insurance requirement, and a fourth ruled the entire law is unconstitutional. Appeals courts will consider those rulings.

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Morning News Round-up
9:24 am
Thu January 20, 2011

Morning headlines: Snow falls in STL, Nixon delivers State of the State address, Mo. lawmakers encourage Koster to challenge federal healthcare

Snow blanketed many areas of Missouri last night and into this morning, including in Jefferson City, Mo. pictured here in 2009, the site of Gov. Nixon's State of the State address last night. (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)
  • A winter weather advisory is in effect for the St. Louis region until 6 p.m. Thursday evening. Heavy snow fell overnight in St. Charles County, Northern St. Louis County, St. Louis City and Madison County, Il. The National Weather Service says more snow is expected throughout the day. Some places in the St. Louis region might see 12 inches of snow by the time the snow stops.
  • Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon proposed flat funding for public schools and cuts to colleges in his annual State of the State speech. In his address last night, the Democratic governor acknowledged that "times are tough" and he said that even modest job gains are cause for celebration. Nixon put forth a plan to slightly shrink the state's spending, shedding several hundred state workers and privatizing some of their functions. He proposed a $23.1 billion operating budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
  • Missouri lawmakers are urging Attorney General Chris Koster to challenge the federal health care law. The Republican-led Senate  passed a resolution Wednesday asking the Democratic attorney general to either file his own lawsuit, join a suit by other attorneys general or join a suit filed by Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. A similar resolution was passed last week by Missouri's Republican-led House of Representatives. Koster's spokeswoman has said only that the office is monitoring the situation. The Missouri legislative action comes as Republicans in charge of the U.S. House are attempting to repeal the federal health care law enacted last year by President Barack Obama. That effort is not expected to receive support in the U.S. Senate, which is still controlled by Democrats.

Health Care Law
2:35 pm
Wed January 19, 2011

Mo. lawmakers urge AG Koster to join health care suit

(Mo. Atty. General's Office)

Missouri lawmakers are urging Attorney General Chris Koster to challenge the federal health care law.

The Republican-led Senate passed a resolution Wednesday asking the Democratic attorney general to either file his own lawsuit, join a suit by other attorneys general or join a suit filed by Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.

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Health Insurance
1:17 pm
Tue January 18, 2011

Mo. drops rate for high-risk health insurance

(UPI/Jeff Roberson/POOL)

A report by Elana Gordon, KCUR

Missouri's new high-risk insurance program is dropping premiums by as much as 25 percent. 

The state launched the pool this summer as part of the federal health law.

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MO Statehouse
2:28 pm
Tue January 11, 2011

Mo. House OKs measure criticizing health care law

The Thomas Jefferson statue stands on the steps of the Missouri State Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Mo. on Dec. 3, 2010. (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Missouri House has passed a resolution urging state officials to join a multistate lawsuit challenging the federal health care overhaul and calling on Congress to repeal the law.

The House approved the resolution Tuesday on a vote of 115-46.

The resolution also urges Missouri's attorney general to defend a voter-approved law that bars the government from requiring people to have health insurance or penalizing them for not having it. The federal law requires that most people have health insurance or face penalties starting in 2014.

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Health Care Law
9:54 am
Tue December 14, 2010

Mo. politicians react to ruling on federal health care law

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon, accused by the Missouri GOP of ducking the issue of healthcare.
(Flickr Creative Commons User aflcio)

Republicans in Missouri are praising Monday's ruling by a federal judge in Virginia that declared portions of the new federal health care law unconstitutional.

The Missouri Republican Party released a statement criticizing Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill for supporting the bill.

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