By Rudi Keller
More than 1,000 Missourians responded to Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder's announcement he plans to challenge the federal health care overhaul enacted last month, a spokesman said Friday.
More than 500 e-mails arrived in the hours after Kinder appeared on Fox News' "On the Record" program, spokesman Gary McElyea said, with only a handful opposed to Kinder's effort. Kinder said he is going to raise private donations to pay attorney costs and file the lawsuit by the end of the month.
"The attorney general did not think pursuing the case is a good use of taxpayer dollars, and he is not going to pursue it," McElyea said. "We decided not to put the burden on taxpayers, but let's let their voices be heard."
There is no initial goal for the fundraising effort, but substantial funds will be needed, McElyea said.
"We want to make sure we have somebody who is competent and qualified for this case and gives it the attention it deserves," he said.
Kinder at first announced he planned to join the lawsuits filed by Florida's attorney general and others challenging the constitutionality of the overhaul law. But he now intends to file his own lawsuit, citing the effect on senior citizens and what he considers an excessive new burden on Missouri taxpayers.
"I have a statutory obligation as the chief advocate for our state's senior population," Kinder said on Fox News. "Seniors are going to be hurt perhaps among the worst of any segment of the population by this ill-conceived, misbegotten federal health care reform that will devastate our state's budget, that will rob from Medicare and thereby hurt seniors, that will cause practitioners to quit the practice of medicine and send millions of new people into their offices, into a shrinking pool of providers."
Kinder said the health care overhaul will cost the state $500 million annually for its share of an expanded Medicaid program.
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