March 18, 2011
VIA HAND DELIVERY
The Honorable Chris Koster
Missouri Attorney General
Supreme Court Building
207 W. High St.
Jefferson City, Missouri 65102
Dear Attorney General Koster:
Despite our request for your opinion on enforcing the federal health care law in Missouri, you fail to state whether you view this law as constitutional and whether it should be followed in Missouri. Instead, your response to our letter is a bare and tedious recitation of the status of various lawsuits against the federal health care law. This is yet another example of how you have delayed and avoided any action on this crucial matter since the federal health care law was passed in March of 2010.
Over the last year, article after article has been printed in which you have seriatim stated that you are either “observing”, “pondering”, or “monitoring” the progress of the health care litigation (see attached articles with quotes from you and your staff). While governors and attorneys general in a majority of states have taken action, you have avoided any position on the law. In fact, you recently stated that you were “stonewalling” the press so you would not have to talk about this subject (see attached article).
As the state's chief legal officer, you are “required to institute, in the name and on behalf of the state, all civil suits and other proceedings that are necessary to protect the state's rights, interests or claims.” (RSMO 27.060). Other attorneys general across the country believe that a lawsuit against this health care law is necessary to protect their state’s rights and interests. Yet, even though our legislature has issued two resolutions for you to get involved in a legal fight against the health care law and the citizens of Missouri overwhelmingly passed the Health Care Freedom Act, you refuse to take a stand and have remained silent.
The U.S. Senate Finance and U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committees issued a joint report dated March 1, 2011, which estimates that the Medicaid spending mandates in the federal health care law will cost states at least $118 billion through the first decade of full implementation (through 2013). These new mandates will cost Missouri $773 million or more over five years. Our state and its elected officials who plan its budget must know whether we are to prepare for this shock to Missouri’s economy. We need you to lead on this issue which is crucial to the fiscal and social well being of our citizens and our state.
This is not a matter that you can ignore. The time for artful dodging is over. In fact, you have stated that this is a non partisan issue and “one of the most important constitutional questions of our time that deserves an answer.” Why do you still refuse to give us one?
Not only are you stonewalling the press, and your fellow elected officials, you are stonewalling the citizens of Missouri who hired you to represent them.
PETER D. KINDER ROBERT MAYER STEVEN TILLEY
Lieutenant Governor President Pro Tem Speaker of the House