May 21, 2012

Health Care Scorecard: The Good, The Bad, And The Downright Sad

The legislative session is over. How did the Missouri Legislature fare in the area of health care?

The Good: The Legislature will submit to voters a referendum that would block the governor from unilaterally implementing ObamaCare. I have written about this in the past and had researched last September what the governor could do unilaterally. I expect Missourians will add an exclamation point to the state’s opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) with the referendum, not unlike Missourians did with Proposition C in 2010. If passed, the referendum will deny the governor the ability to impose an ObamaCare health insurance exchange in Missouri.

Moreover, Missouri senators defeated what would have been an extension of the expensive and burdensome kindergarten optometrist mandate, an issue which I testified against. An unnecessary and inefficient imposition on Missouri’s families, the bill’s failure was the right thing for Missourians and Missouri families. This is an all-too-rare example of removing licensing-related rules and regulations in Missouri. I hope we have more of this in the future.

The Bad: In this case, really bad legislation. A bill that would have declared ObamaCare “unconstitutional” and applied criminal penalties to federal officials who would implement portions of the law in the state never made it to a vote on the floor of the Senate. Re-litigating the centuries-old notions of state interposition is neither necessary nor helpful to combating ObamaCare. The bill’s unceremonious end was warranted.

The Sad: Late last week I worried here that a bill allowing volunteer health organizations access to medically underserved Missourians would die due to a small potatoes dispute in one of the bill’s sections. To be clear, both the House and the Senate passed nearly identical versions of the bill. And yet, it died. It is a shame, bordering on shameful  that the chambers could not reconcile their differences.

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