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Senators Respond to Nixon’s Plan to Implement ObamaCare Despite Prop C Passage by 71%

Senators Respond to Nixon’s Plan to Implement ObamaCare Despite Prop C Passage by 71%


One week ago (9-15-11) the Senate Interim Committee on Health Care Exchanges convened for a scheduled meeting. 

In the midst of this meeting they discovered that an executive department meeting being held simultaneously across

town from the state capitol included an agenda item to begin implementation of the infrastructure needed for Missouri

to participate in ‘ObamaCare’.  (Ironically this Senate Committee was created in response to the political strategy debate

over how best to protect/defend Missouri from forced participation in the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”,

otherwise known as ‘ObamaCare’ a socialist government takeover of our nation’s total health care system.)


Initially (and with some shocked disbelief that this news could possibly be true) Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder

dispatched a staff member to go to the meeting of the board of directors of the Missouri Health Insurance Pool

to assess the veracity of the unexpected revelation.  Once the agenda item was initially confirmed three Senators

immediately and personally rushed across town to investigate and confront the bureaucrats intentions.  Thus

Senators Jim Lembke, Jane Cunningham and Rob Schaaf interrupted the meeting of the board, were escorted

to a private office, forced to deal with several efforts by Director John Huff to deflect their direct questions,

and were ultimately successful at thwarting the board’s vote.  (Reminding these bureaucrats that they are only

the State’s employees and that the voters are the boss, represented by ALL our elected officials.)


Since last week there has been significant misunderstandings about the events of that day, as well as the details

related to Governor Nixon’s involvement.  These confusions have led many folks to state incorrect facts and

ask questions which miss the facts.  As a result the developing political environment has made it too easy for

denials and finger pointing.  Below are two documents which will hopefully help clarify details and give some

clearer understanding of events past and coordinated efforts moving forward.  First is Senator Jim Lembke’s

resolution calling on unelected bureaucrats to cease efforts to bypass the Legislature and ignore/thwart the

clearly expressed will of the voters.  Second is Senator Jane Cunningham’s press release renewing her call

for a State Constitutional Amendment raising the bar of protection previously adopted with passage of  

Proposition C (2010) with over 71% of Missouri voters saying “YES”.


Senator Lembke’s resolution (SR**) will be introduced, after interested Senators have a chance to add

their names, during the special called First Extraordinary Session of the 2011 Missouri General Assembly.


Senator Cunningham’s resolution (SJR **) will be pre-filed in December and introduced the first week

of January 2012 and, as with Lembke’s resolution, will contain all interested Senators names also.


Senator Jim Lembke’s Senate Resolution:

 

WHEREAS, Governor Nixon designated John Huff, the Director of the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions

and Professional Registration and a member of the Missouri Health Insurance Pool, to serve as the project director of Missouri’s

Health Insurance Exchange Establishment Grant to provide executive leadership to the development of the exchange

infrastructure and to oversee grant administration; and

 

WHEREAS, Governor Nixon, upon the advice of Director Huff and the Health Insurance Exchange Coordinating Committee,

designated the Missouri Health Insurance Pool to receive an Establishment Grant from the federal government on behalf of the

State of Missouri to plan and implement a health insurance exchange under the direction of Director Huff; and

 

WHEREAS, on August 12, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the award of approximately $21

million in the form of a Level One Exchange Establishment Grant to the Missouri Health Insurance Pool to help establish a state

health insurance exchange; and

 

WHEREAS, on September 15, 2011, the board of directors of the Missouri Health Insurance Pool considered adopting a

resolution establishing the “MHIP/Show-Me HIX” as a distinct organizational unit within the Missouri Health Insurance Pool

and undertaking responsibility for implementing the tasks described in the Missouri Establishment Grant; and

 

WHEREAS, the board of directors of the Missouri Health Insurance Pool also considered accepting a $21 million federal

grant to help build the technological infrastructure for a health insurance exchange; and

 

WHEREAS, after consulting with some key senators from the Senate Interim Committee on Health Insurance Exchanges, the

board of directors of the Missouri Health Insurance Pool postponed action on the resolution to establish an exchange and accept

the federal grant; and

 

WHEREAS, counsel retained by the Missouri Health Insurance Pool has stated that the Missouri Health Insurance Pool has the

statutory authority to accept the federal monies and take the preliminary steps to establish a health insurance exchange; and

 

WHEREAS, several members of the Senate Interim Committee on Health Insurance Exchanges have asked the director of the

Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration to state the legal authority that allows

the Missouri Health Insurance Pool to accept Exchange Establishment Grants and to undertake precursory steps to establish a

state-based health insurance exchange; and

 

WHEREAS, as to date, the legal basis for the Missouri Health Insurance Pool to engage in the preliminary steps of establishing

a health insurance exchange has not been provided to the members of the Senate Interim Committee on Health Insurance

Exchanges; and

 

WHEREAS, the statutes establishing the Missouri Health Insurance Pool do not authorize its board to accept federal  grants or

undertake activities relating to the establishment of a health insurance exchange; and

 

WHEREAS, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires states to establish their own health insurance exchanges

or otherwise cede this authority to the federal government; and

 

WHEREAS, the decision to establish a state-based health insurance exchange or to allow the federal government to operate

an exchange within Missouri is a policy decision left to the General Assembly and not the Missouri Health Insurance Pool or

any other member of the executive branch; and

 

WHEREAS, the Missouri General Assembly would need to pass legislation before any state-controlled exchange were to be

implemented in Missouri, giving the citizens of Missouri a right to be heard on this matter through their constitutionally elected

representatives; and

 

WHEREAS, Article II of the Missouri Constitution mandates that the powers of government shall be divided into three distinct

departments with each department exercising its own powers; and

 

WHEREAS, it is the power of Governor, as the head of the executive department, to faithfully execute the laws and not to

make laws or choose to ignore the laws that do not suit his political agenda; and

 

WHEREAS, accepting federal monies to preliminarily establish a state-based health insurance exchange invades the province of

the General Assembly in that the decision to establish or not establish a health insurance exchange is a policy decision – a power

entrusted to the General Assembly by the Missouri Constitution, and

 

WHEREAS, the legislative authority of Missouri is vested in the General Assembly and in the absence of a statute or constitutional

provision that authorizes the Governor to establish a state-based health insurance exchange, the Governor cannot create obligations,

responsibilities, conditions or processes having the force and effect of law by the issuance of an executive order or other actions; and

 

WHEREAS, the potential decision of the Missouri Health Insurance Pool to establish a health insurance exchange within the

Missouri Health Insurance Pool is without legal foundation and usurps the power of the General Assembly; and

 

WHEREAS, the potential decision of the Missouri Health Insurance Pool to establish a health insurance exchange within the

Missouri Health Insurance Pool runs afoul of the wishes of the Missouri voters in that one of the core functions of a federally-

approved exchange is to establish a process to determine whether an individual is exempt from the individual mandate penalty:

 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the members of the Missouri Senate, Ninety-sixth General Assembly, First

Extraordinary Session, hereby urge the Governor of Missouri, the director of the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial

Institutions and Professional Registration, and the board of directors of the Missouri Health Insurance Pool to return all

Exchange Establishment Grant monies to Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius; refrain from applying for

any other federal grants relating to the establishment of a health insurance exchange as envisioned under the Patient Protection

and Affordable Care Act; and refrain from adopting any policies relating to the establishment of a health insurance exchange

which by their very nature blatantly disregard the time-honored separation of powers between the legislative and executive

branches; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of the Missouri Senate be instructed to send a copy of this resolution to the

Governor of Missouri, the director of the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration,

and each member of the board of directors of the Missouri Health Insurance Pool.

 

– end –

State Senator Jane Cunningham

District 7

 

For Immediate Release:

Sept. 16, 2011

 

Capitol Building, Room 321

Jefferson City, MO 65101

Contact: Kit Crancer

(573) 751-1186

 

Senator Cunningham: Health Care Freedom and the Will of the People Must be Protected Through Constitutional Amendment

 

JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, a member of the Senate Interim Committee on Health Insurance Exchanges, learned yesterday that the governor’s administration was continuing efforts to secure federal grant funding to implement a health care exchange, without the approval of the legislature. Senator Cunningham and her colleagues on the panel were surprised to learn that Missouri’s Health Insurance Pool Board planned to cast votes to accept more than 21 million dollars in federal funds to establish a Health Insurance Exchange. The exchange would have the purpose of implementing the President’s health reform package as approved by congress. Senator Cunningham and other opponents of federal health care mandates demanded that the board refrain from casting any votes on the health insurance exchange.

Had senators not intervened yesterday, the action that would have been taken by the Missouri Health Insurance Pool Board stated, “Whereas Governor Nixon, upon the advice of John Huff and the HIECC (Health Insurance Exchange Coordinating Committee named by the Governor with no statutory authority), designated the MHIP to receive the Establishment Grant ($21 million from the federal government ) on behalf of the State of Missouri to plan and implement an HIX (Health Insurance Exchange) under the direction of John Huff….Be it resolved that MHIP hereby establishes the Missouri Health Insurance Pool/Show-Me Health Insurance Exchange as a distinct organizational unit within MHIP…..and authorizes John Huff, as Project Director to provide executive leadership for this distinct organization unit and Dwight Fine to serve as Project Manager….to manage the day-to-day activities necessary to implement the Establishment grant including supervising and recruiting staff.”

“This action to implement a federal health care exchange flies in the face of the 71 percent of voters who overwhelmingly said ‘yes’ to Proposition C, an initiative designed to prevent the federal government from requiring citizens to purchase health insurance, and for punishing those who don’t purchase a prescribed product,” Sen. Cunningham said. “Furthermore, I’m disappointed to learn that the Governor and his administration were looking to implement the health care exchange without legislative knowledge or approval. Because of this I plan on putting in legislation this upcoming session which would place the language of Proposition C or the Health Care Freedom Act into the Missouri State Constitution.”                        -END-