Kinder Continues Fight Against “ObamaCare”, For “Right to Work”
Lt. Governor Explains Opposition to Expansion of Medicaid Roles in Missouri
By Mike Ferguson
(St. Charles, MO) – He’s the second-highest ranking elected official in Missouri and he was recently sworn in for an unusual third term in Jefferson City.
Peter Kinder is also in the running to become the next Congressman from the Eighth District. Due to the impending resignation of Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, the Eighth District Congressional Committees of the ballot-qualified parties are now in the process of selecting candidates for a special election to fill the seat in the Republican-heavy district.
Kinder led a private legal challenge to the national health care commonly called “ObamaCare” before the election. After the President’s reelection, Kinder says that fight isn’t over despite critics’ assertions that Americans settled the debate with their vote to retain Barak Obama in office.
“He [the President] did not seek a mandate on ObamaCare. He didn’t even talk about it in the campaign. There can’t be a mandate if you didn’t lay a program before the people and say ‘I want to be reelected on the basis of this program.’”
There is a mandate, though, in Missouri, Kinder asserts. That’s based on the 2010 Proposition “C” vote where 71% of voters rejected the individual mandate portion of the federal law. That leaves an unresolved conflict between state and federal law. The Lt. Governor says Missouri’s government should adhere to what’s on Missouri’s books.
“For Missouri to now implement an exchange which would allow the individual mandate to buy health insurance is actually contrary to our state law, and would violate state law as expressed by that 71% super majority vote of the people.”
The federal deadline to establish an exchange has passed. Missouri, along with a majority of the states, have not complied.
“I am ready to call the federal government’s bluff on this.” Kinder continues.
“I don’t believe they are in a position to come in and do a federal exchange in Missouri or in these other states that aren’t going along.”
Kinder’s opposition isn’t only to Washington. He’s also taking on Governor Jay Nixon’s support for expanding the Medicaid roles in Missouri. The federal government is promising to cover that cost for three years.
Republicans, including Kinder, says that’s a bait and switch with a big bill to reel in.
“The Medicaid expansion is unaffordable. It is unworkable. It will break the state’s bank, fiscally, and we are not going to do it.”
Critics say that could make health coverage harder to get for at least 300,000 Missourians.
The Lt. Governor hopes Missourians will look at the debate from another perspective, though. One that keeps in mind a view of the entire state budget and the impact increased spending anywhere has on other areas of government.
“It [increased Medicaid spending] is the reason that we’re seeing the crowding out of funding for education, K through 12 schools as well as higher education.
“If middle class families across our great state want to know one of the main reasons why tuition at our state universities and community colleges has skyrocketed over the past dozen years, the fact that Medicaid spending is crowding out other functions of state government spending is one of the biggest reasons.”
Advocates for Medicaid expansion claim turning down the federal money and not expanding the Medicaid roles could put some medical clinics, especially smaller rural hospitals, at risk of closure because of a lack of revenue.
Kinder addressed other economic issues during the interview, asserting his support for so-called “Right to Work” legislation and his call for lowering the state’s income tax to better compete with surrounding states, especially Kansas.
“Right to Work” laws make it illegal to require union membership as a condition of employment.
In a previous “Missouri Viewpoints”, state Speaker of the House Tim Jones said he has enough support among Republicans to pass a “Right to Work” bill but not enough support to override a likely veto from Governor Nixon.
Kinder thinks the idea should move forward, anyway.
“The question is ‘Do you want to tee up the issue and have the debate?’ And I think it’s time to do that even if you’re not able to put it on the statute book.”
Kinder suggested that voters would support the idea through a referendum in 2014 if the Legislature does not address it.
On the web: http://ltgov.mo.gov/