Science, Health and Technology
3:46 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Missouri bill would ban implementation of health care reform

A Missouri House panel has endorsed legislation making it a crime for federal officials to attempt to enforce the 2010 federal health care overhaul in the state.

The measure states that "any official, agent, or employee of the United States government" seeking to enforce the health care overhaul within Missouri's borders may be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Republican Kurt Bahr of St. Charles County sponsored the bill, which declares the federal law to be "altogether void and of no force." Bahr said the legislation is similar to Prop C, which Missouri voters passed in 2010, but said his bill has "teeth," because it would give Missourians standing to sue if they are forced to buy health insurance. 

"The federal government does not have the constitutional authority to compel us to buy health insurance," said Bahr. "Obamacare does not address the better ways in which health care can be fixed."

Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the legality of Obama's health reform law. A decision isn't expected until late June. 

"My hope is that the Supreme Court will rule Obamacare unconstitutional, and my bill will be superfluous," said Bahr. "I want to keep our state from implementing it, because there are parts of Obamacare that require our acquiescence."

The House General Laws Committee endorsed the bill Wednesday, sending it to the full House.