By Johnny Kampis | Missouri Watchdog
Lt. Gov Peter Kinder said he has “only begun to fight” as Missouri politicans lined up on either side of the landmark Supreme Court decision Thursday that allowed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to stand.
The Republican Kinder filed a lawsuit against the plan in 2010 when Attorney General Chris Koster declined to join other states in suing the federal government.
In a news conference Thursday shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision, Kinder said the ruling makes the health care act constitutional as a tax, but not under the nation’s commerce clause, which “tightens the importance” of his case.
Koster said in a statement that most justices “agreed with Missouri’s analysis” that the law was not constitutional under the commerce clause.
“The complexity of the decision raises a host of pressing issues for our state, including the need to establish our own health care exchange, and Missouri’s future options regarding Medicaid expansion,” Koster said.
The health care act expands Medicaid eligibility to 133 percent of the federal poverty level and allows all income eligible adults to participate. The qualifying amount varies by family size and changes on an annual basis.
Kaiser said Missouri would need to invest $431 million to receive nearly $8.4 billion in federal funds over the first five years if Medicaid is expanded in the state. The source of that funding is still in question.
State Rep. Chris Moldendorp, R-Raymore, told Missouri Watchdog Thursday morning that his plan to spur the legislature to create an online insurance market for its residents “is the final exercise in state sovereignty” related to the health care act.
House Majority Leader Tim Jones said Thursday afternoon it could be moot depending on who is elected president. Jones, R-Eureka, said he believes Republican Mitt Romney likely would suspend a requirement on state health insurance exchanges.
“I wouldn’t want to waste a lot of legislative time and state resources right now, setting up something — or talking about setting up something — which may become completely unnecessary in November,” he said.
Gov. Jay Nixon, who said earlier this week he opposed the individual mandate portion of the act, is reviewing the implications of the decision.
“I’m committed to working collaboratively with citizens, businesses, medical providers and the legislature to move forward in a way that works best for families in our state,” he said in a statement.
Republicans challenging for the seat of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill blasted the Supreme Court’s decision, with Sarah Steelman calling it “an establishment ruling” focused on “keeping power in the hands of Washington politicians.”
McCaskill spokesman John LaBombard released a short statement that said, “There’s only ever been one goal for Claire — affordable, accessible health care for Missouri.”