May 26, 2010
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- In August, Missouri will be the first of several states to ask its voters if they want to 'opt out' of federal health care reforms, and not be required to buy private medical insurance. Supporters of major insurers and drug companies wrote the ballot language.
Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican, is asking Missourians to join him in a federal lawsuit against health care reform. He says he will file the suit next month on behalf of individuals he says will have their constitutional rights violated by reform.
Kinder is on a tour of the state to promote the ballot issue that the Legislature placed on the statewide ballot in August. In a news conference here on Wednesday morning, Kinder admitted the current system isn't perfect but called it the best in the world.
“We don't need a one-size-fits-all gigantic, bureaucratic government takeover of our health care system,” Kinder said. “We're trying to knock that out with this lawsuit and say, ‘We want to repeal this and replace it with better reforms.’”
Kinder says individual donations will pay for the lawsuit, not tax dollars.
The Missouri Democratic Party calls Kinder's effort and the ballot issue 'absurd and meaningless.'
(Springfield, MO) -- Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder comes to Springfield today to talk about his pending lawsuit against health care reform. Kinder spoke of the implications of the new law.
His suit claims the U.S. government can't mandate that citizens have health insurance or force states to carry out the new law without reimbursing them for costs.
Kinder says he'll file the suit next month, not on behalf of the state of Missouri, but on behalf of individual Missourians.
"They've handed the bill to Missouri taxpayers who are stuck with a bill for hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade and beyond," Kinder said. "And it's a moving target so we don't know how much but I'm using the figure $500 million in a few years and forever after."
Missouri's Attorney General, Christ Koster, has not sued.
Kinder says it is his role as a constitutional officer of Missouri to file suit.
May 25, 2010
By Derek Spellman Globe Staff Writer
JOPLIN, Mo. — Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said Monday that his legal challenge to the federal health care law should be filed within the next couple of weeks.
During a stop in Joplin, Kinder, a Republican, told reporters that he and other individuals plan to file a lawsuit in federal court that seeks to “set aside the recently passed Obamacare” legislation on grounds that it is “fundamentally corrupt” and unconstitutional. Kinder said he and others would be filing the suit individually, not on behalf of Missouri.
“We are not bringing a lawsuit on behalf of a state,” Kinder said. He said that approach also would allow the plaintiffs to raise “unique constitutional claims.”
Kinder announced earlier this year that he planned to file such a suit. On Monday, he contended that the health care overhaul would diminish the quality of health care, hurt providers and saddle Missouri taxpayers with additional costs.
“This is wrong as a moral issue,” Kinder said, also calling it “wrong” for families and taxpayers.
Democrats already have pushed back against the pending lawsuit.
In a statement released just after Kinder announced that he would be pursuing a legal challenge, Ryan Hobart, the communications director for the Missouri Democratic Party, called the litigation “just another political maneuver by someone who is all politics, all of the time.”
“The health insurance reform bill will potentially provide billions in federal dollars for health care in Missouri, allow children with pre-existing conditions to get insurance, and remove lifetime caps on the amount of insurance coverage individuals can receive,” Hobart said in the statement provided to the Globe on Monday. “In addition to all that, it is estimated that over the long term it will reduce the federal deficit by trillions of dollars.”
Kinder, though, challenged claims that the law would reduce the deficit. He asserted that more recent estimates from the Congressional Budget Office forecast that the cost would be even higher than previously stated.
Democrats have called on Kinder to disclose who will be financing the lawsuit. The lieutenant governor said he is raising money private money for the legal challenge.
“I’ll be disclosing later this summer,” he said. “I’m under no legal obligation to do so. That’s voluntary.”
Hobart on Monday provided a list of statements from legal scholars contending that Kinder’s lawsuit would have little chance of success because federal laws generally trump those in states.
Kinder said “we like our chances” of the lawsuit perhaps making its way to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and maybe the U.S Supreme Court.
May 11, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 2010
Statement from Lt. Governor Kinder on Health Care Freedom Legislation
JEFFERSON CITY – Lt. Governor Peter Kinder today issued the following statement the legislature’s passage of House Bill 1764:
“Today, Republican and Democrat lawmakers in the Missouri General Assembly have ensured that the voters of Missouri will have the ultimate voice in directing their own health care decisions. Missouri taxpayers have overwhelming voiced opposition to the federal health care law and they will now be able to protect their individual rights.
“I believe that the voters of Missouri will overwhelmingly support this referendum on the August ballot and stand up against this infringement on their personal freedoms.”
# # #
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri is poised to become the first state to put the new federal health insurance mandate to a vote of its residents.
The Missouri House gave final approval Tuesday to a measure that will appear on the August ballot stating that people and employers cannot be compelled to have health insurance.
The referendum seeks to defy a federal health care law signed earlier this year by President Barack Obama that requires most Americans to have health insurance or face fines. The federal law includes an exemption for lower income people.
If approved by voters, it's uncertain whether Missouri's law would carry much weight. That's because federal laws generally trump those of states.
Similar measures are to appear on the November ballot in Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma.
© 2010 The Associated Press.
ObamaCare's Phony Medicaid 'Deal'
The new health law unconstitutionally coerces the states
By RICHARD A. EPSTEIN
The attorneys general of 13 states recently filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the Medicaid portions of the new health law. Given the dismal track record states and individuals have had challenging New Deal social programs, many pundits have concluded their suit will be dismissed out of hand. I wouldn't be so sure.
The new health law gives states frontline responsibility for setting up an untried system of "exchanges" through which individuals will purchase health-care insurance. States receive partial federal support for running the exchanges up to 2015, after which they run them at their own considerable but uncertain expense. States can opt out of organizing these exchanges—but only if they extend Medicaid coverage to more of their residents, including all uninsured persons whose incomes are 133% to 200% of the poverty level.
This program is highly coercive and it raises a constitutional problem of the first magnitude.
Barack Obama promoting health-insurance reform in March.
ObamaCare's defenders say there is no problem—since no state has to participate in Medicaid at all, they're free to walk away entirely from the ObamaCare deal. But this too is a fake option.
Suppose a thief takes your family portrait worth $100 to you and then makes a take-it-or-leave it offer to sell it back to you for $50. You prefer the picture to the money. He prefers the money to the picture. Does that make the thief's offer a win/win? Of course not. It is ransom.
President Barack Obama said Saturday in his weekly address that millions of Americans already are reaping benefits from the new health care law.
And thus the ObamaCare deal: States may leave Medicaid but the Medicaid taxes their citizens pay will support the program in other states. The state's option to leave Medicaid would be real only if the federal government refunded its citizens' Medicaid taxes or paid them into the state treasury.
There is one big obstacle to state success in the courts. In Frothingham v. Mellon (1923), a citizen of Massachusetts and the state itself challenged the use of federal tax dollars for infant and maternal health under the 1921 Maternity Act. Their argument was that the payments to individual people were not expenditures for the "general welfare of the United States," which, properly understood, only covered standard public goods like national defense.
But the Supreme Court there mistakenly held that neither the individual citizen nor the state had standing to challenge the program—on the peculiar ground that any potential constitutional violation that hurt everyone could be challenged by no one. That ruling put Massachusetts (like states today) in an impossible bind. A principled decision not to accept the federal funds meant that its citizens' tax dollars simply would go to mothers and infants in other states.
Fortunately, the obstacle that the Supreme Court raised to a state's standing to sue has already been breached. In Massachusetts v. EPA—the notorious 2007 decision allowing the EPA to treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant—the Supreme Court recognized that the state had standing to sue to protect its own coastline from the supposed ravages of excess CO2. The Supreme Court should likewise also recognize a state's standing to sue when the federal government seeks to command its resources to serve federal objectives. In New York v. United States (1992), the Court prevented the U.S. from forcing states to take title to nuclear waste. It can surely prevent the federal government from mandating massive expenditures of scarce state resources.
Under the Constitution the states are not wards of the federal government. Clever federal tax and spending statutes must not be allowed to reduce states to a servile status that allows the federal government to force massive wealth shifts among them.
The federal government should be told either to refund to the states their citizens' Medicaid tax dollars when they pull out of the program or to drop the new mandates to expand Medicaid coverage as the price the states must pay to escape ObamaCare-created duties.
Mr. Epstein is a professor of law at the University of Chicago and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
May 3, 2010
Thanks for your continued support of our fight against Obamacare. Stay tuned this week for more updates on the progress of our lawsuit from attorney Thor Hearne.
Below, I have included an opinion editorial from my good friend David Limbaugh on the subject of Obamacare.
LIMBAUGH: Obama(doesn't)care is Taking Surprise Hits
By David Limbaugh
Friday, April 30, 2010 - St. Louis Globe Democrat
As President Barack Obama is attempting to steamroll yet another enormous policy change through Congress against the best interests of Americans, we would be well-advised to keep abreast of the frauds that are already being exposed about Obamacare.
Last week, reality dealt Obamacare twin blows - not that Obama will care. An analysis inside his own administration and a report from New York state shed the grim light of reality on this monstrosity before its Draconian provisions have even gone into effect.
Economic experts at the Health and Human Services Department issued a report last week, conveniently after Obamacare was shoved through, finding that though more people will end up with health insurance (many of them against their will, of course), costs are going to increase. Shocker.
How could coverage not increase with the legal mandate forcing unwilling people to buy health insurance coverage? Today millions entitled to assistance don't avail themselves of it, but Obamacare will presumably be different because there will be a penalty for non-coverage - an idea that Obama expediently mocked during the primary campaign.
But costs will also increase? I thought Obama promised to bend the cost curve down - that he wouldn't add one dime to the deficit with Obamacare. But two dimes or a quarter are apparently a different matter.
The HHS analysis found Obamacare will raise projected spending by about 1 percent over 10 years - and this is without even considering the impact of numerous gimmicks and camouflaged items, such as the Medicare "doctor fix." There are presently scheduled 21 percent cuts in Medicare reimbursements to physicians, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised that they won't be implemented. What a sham!
The report also revealed that Obamacare could drive 15 percent of hospitals into the red and possibly jeopardize access to care for seniors.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported last week that New York's experience with provisions that parallel Obamacare do not portend well for Obamacare.
According to the Times (it's amazing it admitted this): "New York's insurance system has been a working laboratory for the core provision of the new federal health care law - insurance even for those who are already sick and facing huge medical bills - and an expensive lesson in unplanned consequences."
Translation: In 1993, New York forced insurance companies to cover individuals and small groups regardless of pre-existing illnesses. It also forced insurers to charge the same premium rates for the same benefits in every region of the state regardless of the demographics of those covered and the different risks that might exist. How about those "unplanned consequences"? You guessed it: "Premiums skyrocketed." Of course they did, because the state grossly interfered with market forces by prohibiting insurers from using risk assessment to set their premiums - just as Obama, in his beneficence, will be doing for all of us under Obamacare.
Healthy people began to subsidize people who needed more health care. Duh. The healthier customers began to drop out, and the pool of covered people shrank and mostly included high-risk people. Since 2001, the number of people buying comprehensive individual policies through HMOs has dropped dramatically, from 128,000 to 31,000. And "New York has the highest average annual premiums for individual policies: $6,630 for single people and $13,296 for families in mid-2009, more than double the nationwide average."
Attentive readers might say, "Well, this won't happen under Obamadoesn'tcare because it forces people to buy health insurance whether they want it or not." Amazingly, again, the Times addressed that question, as well. Analysts, the Times said, conclude that this mandate "could prove meaningless if the government does not vigorously enforce the penalties" or if people opt out and pay the penalties.
Well, of course many of the healthy ones are going to opt out, because the penalties will probably be but a fraction of the premiums.
But these twin blows to Obamacare barely scratch the surface of the horror that awaits us. Respected health care expert Sally Pipes warns that Obamacare will add strain to an already burdened system by increasing the load on family doctors while imposing price controls on government plans. Those controls will inevitably be imposed on private plans, too, as they were in another state - Massachusetts - that is a partial microcosm of Obamacare.
So we'll have increased demand for medical care with price controls, which will necessitate rationing. But making matters worse, doctors are going to retire early; you've surely heard of the 2009 poll by Investor's Business Daily finding that 45 percent of doctors would consider quitting if Obamacare passed. You think the Obamacrats will try to amend the law to force doctors to keep their jobs? Why not? This living Constitution can be pretty handy in a pinch.
Can you believe there are actually Republicans out there contemplating forgoing a full repeal?
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His book "Bankrupt: The Intellectual and Moral Bankruptcy of Today's Democratic Party" was released recently in paperback.