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Missouri House passes health care lawsuit resolution

By   /   January 11, 2011  /   News  /   No Comments

A majority of state representatives want Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to file his own lawsuit, or join more than 20 other states already challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care reform law.

The Missouri House of Representatives, controlled by Republicans, approved  House Resolution 39 by a vote of 115 to 46 Tuesday calling on Koster, a Democrat, to challenge the federal health care law.

The House Rules Committee passed the non-binding resolution Monday by seven to three along party lines.

“We have an enormous majority of people in this state who believe the federal health care bill is unconstitutional and the vote on the House floor today reflected that,” said Rep. Ward Franz, a Republican from West Plains, who sponsored the resolution.

“I’m not sure how the message to Attorney General Koster could be any clearer. He needs to listen to the people and take action immediately,” added Franz, in a statement. Franz sponsored a similar resolution last year calling on Koster to file an independent lawsuit.

Missouri Sen. Jane Cunningham, a Republican from Chesterfield, filed a companion resolution Tuesday on the other side of the Capitol. Senate Resolution 27 also urges Koster to challenge the health care reform law.

The attorney general’s office did not respond to yet another request for comment from Missouri Watchdog.

Supporters of the federal health reform law, meanwhile, are calling for Koster to stand firm.

“It’s frustrating that Missouri House Republicans are trying to obstruct these good policies moving forward. By attacking the Affordable Care Act, lawmakers threaten all the new benefits for children, seniors and small businesses,” said Amy Smoucha, a health care organizer for Missouri Jobs with Justice, a coalition of community, labor, student and religious groups with offices located in Kansas City and St. Louis.

“Attorney General Koster needs to stand firm and keep Missouri out of expensive, politically-motivated lawsuits,” Smoucha told Missouri Watchdog, adding thousands in Missouri are already benefiting from the new law.

By Brian R. Hookbrhook@missouriwatchdog.org, (314) 482-7944

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Brian formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.