Missourians to vote on challenge to federal health care law
By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri will be the first state to let citizens vote on whether to defy the federal health care law signed by President Obama.
The Missouri House today passed legislation authorizing a referendum stating that citizens and employers cannot be forced to participate in any public or private health care system. It's designed to challenge the new health care law that requires most Americans to have health insurance or face fines.
House Speaker Pro-tem Bryan Pratt (R, Blue Springs) strongly supported the bill.
"Liberals in Washington DC can't dictate every single aspect of a Missourian's life, and we're going to stand up for those rights," Pratt said. "We're going to stand up and say, 'Listen, the best folks to talk about what Missourians should do are Missourians.'"
State Representative Jeanette Mott Oxford (D, St. Louis) calls the bill meaningless.
"This is one of a number of election-year stunts that we've seen come before this body this year...it's trying to feed public hysteria about the new federal health care bill, and it's trying to drive a certain segment of people to the polls," Oxford said.
Oxford also says she believes federal law would trump any state law defying the federal health care law.
The legislation does not need Governor Jay Nixon's signature. The referendum will be held Tuesday, August 3rd.
Florida, Oklahoma and Arizona will hold similar votes in November.