The Missouri Senate voted on Tuesday, May 4 to give Missouri residents a chance to vote on aspects of the federal health care bill that was passed by the federal government and signed by President Barack Obama.
The federal law requires that most Americans must buy health insurance, with certain exceptions, including low income people. The Missouri proposed referendum would prohibit the federal government from requiring people or employers to buy health insurance for themselves or their employees. The vote was 26-8. If the bill passes the House, the Missouri people will vote on this issue in August. The bill originally sought a Constitutional Amendment, but instead it will now be implemented as Missouri state law.
Previous legislation in the Missouri House called for a Missouri Constitutional Amendment that would prohibit government penalties for those who choose to not participate in a health insurance plan. That bill stalled.
Senator Rita Days, a Democrat from St. Louis, said that she was “disturbed” by this Missouri legislation, and supported the federal law because it made it easier for Missourians to get health insurance.
After hours of debate, and a “tea party” taking place in Jefferson City, this referendum is just a symbolic measure and will not be enforceable, as federal law supersedes Missouri state law.
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