Missouri judge replaces health care exchange ballot measure language

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August 31, 2012


By Bailey Ludlam

JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri: Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green replaced the ballot language for Proposition E, a measure that would prohibit the establishment, creation, or operation of a health insurance exchange unless it is created by a legislative act, a ballot initiative, or veto referendum.

Judge Green agreed with Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and other Republican officials, who argued that the prepared ballot summary was not "fair and sufficient."[1]

The late August ruling will not be challenged by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, after Attorney General Chris Koster refused a request for further action.[2]

In a press release, the secretary of state's office said in part, "Although we strongly disagree with the decision by the Cole County Circuit Court, this office is not in a position to appeal the decision on its own. We are disappointed that Attorney General Koster has refused our request to file an appeal."[3]

Koster released his own statement saying, "Judge Greene’s summary more accurately reflects the legislative intent than does the Secretary’s proposed language. My job is to call balls and strikes in an impartial manner. The argument is over."[4]

The measure was referred to the ballot by the Missouri State Legislature during the 2012 legislative session. Proposition E, is also known as Senate Bill 464.

Original ballot text:

Shall Missouri law be amended to deny individuals, families, and small businesses the ability to access affordable health care plans through a state-based health benefit exchange unless authorized by statute, initiative or referendum or through an exchange operated by the federal government as required by the federal health care act?[5]

New ballot text:

Shall Missouri Law be amended to prohibit the Governor, or any state agency, from establishing or operating state-based health insurance exchanges unless authorized by a vote of the people or by the legislature?[5]

See also