February 11, 2016

Koster, Nixon, McCaskill not on board with Kinder, healthcare bill lawsuit

Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat, says he will not join officials from 13 other states in taking legal action against the federal health-care overhaul bill.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, the only Republican to hold a top office in Missouri, says he intends to join the lawsuit, and has requested Koster, Gov. Nixon and Sen. McCaskill (all Democrats) back that effort. So far, his efforts have been in vain.

“This health-care directive will pose a huge financial burden for our state,” Kinder said. “Tennessee’s Governor, a Democrat, even called this bill ‘the mother of all unfunded mandates.” The true cost to Missouri taxpayers remains to be seen.”

Kinder says he’s written letters to Koster, Nixon and McCaskill, but with no response.

Koster tells KWOS, “Lt. Gov. Kinder is an advocate for a number of important causes in the state, he certainly and unquestionable has the ability to join a lawsuit like this in a personal capacity, but the ability to bind the state in a matter like this has historically rested with theAttorney General’s Office.”

However, Koster hasn’t completely closed the door yet.

“We want to sit back and watch this Nebraska Compromise situation,” he says. “I think that if the Nebraska Compromise is not solved, then I would be open minded to at least taking another look at this thing.”

Kinder’s office says with or without Koster’s support, he’ll join officials of 13 other states in challenging the law by his “standing as a constitutional officer of the State of Missouri and by my statutory authority as Missouri’s Official Senior Advocate.”

Gov. Nixon tells the Missourinet the state has better things to do.

“I just think this is a time for everybody to take a deep breath, everybody to begin reading what’s in here, and to make sure that Missouri implements it smartly, and effectively and efficiently,” he says. “That’s the task that I’m about, and that’s the task that my cabinet and I and I think leading members of the Legislature are going to work on.”

Nixon indicated he would ignore Kinder’s request to protest the constitutionality of the bill.

“Look, we’ve got serious business at hand,” he says. “I’m about doing the serious business of Missouri, making sure that a measure that is now the law of the land … which has in it significant things that affect Missouri, that Missouri can draw benefits from, that we inteligently, in a calm, cool fashion, look at how we can implement that …. in a way that’s most effective for the state. That’s my ownly focus in this area.”

Kinder says he’ll announce sometime next week how he’ll proceed with the lawsuit.

Nixon responds to questions about healthcare suit [Download / listen, Mp3, 1:48]

View video of Kinder’s original statement declaring suit against healthcare law