The House has given first round approval to a proposal that would bar enforcement of the federal Affordable Care Act, and makes it a crime to try to enact any portion of it in Missouri. House Democrats found a number of reasons to oppose the bill.
Its sponsor, Representative Kurt Bahr (R-St. Charles) said while introducing the legislation that the federal healthcare law is unconstutitional. “It is our duty as state legislators, as the sovereign State of Missouri to uphold our end of the Constitution … of this interstate compact of the Constitution, and when the federal government oversteps its bounds it’s our duty, our obligation, to stand up and say, ‘That is not what the Constitution allows the federal government to do. We will not allow you to implement that piece of legislation on our citizens.’”
Representative Genise Montecillo (D-St. Louis) asks Bahr if the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on the constitutionality of the Act, and she somehow missed it. “My understanding is that is still open to interpretation. We probably disagree on the constitutionality of that but you kind of assert that with some authority.
Bahr concedes, “We are still waiting on the Supreme Court to make their final decision on the constitutionality of the Accordable Care Act.”
Representative Margo McNeil (D-Florissant) says the state should allow the ACA to stand, for all the ways it will benefit Missourians. When Bahr restates his assessment that the Act is unconstitutional, she questions how he comes to that conclusion. “According to the representative from the 19th District (Bahr)?”
Bahr answers succinctly, “Yes.”
House Democrats also say Missouri has no power to resist the Act if it becomes law. Representative Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) says the bill oversteps the legislature’s authority. “Just because you don’t like the federal law, and it’s somebody else’s job to find whether it’s constitutional or not, does not give us the power to leap way, way out of our obligations. This is the antithesis of limited government.”
Kelly summed up his feelings about Bahr’s proposal, “This is breathtaking in its contempt for the Constitution of the United States.”
The bill was perfected 109-41 on a roll call vote. Another positive vote would send it to the Senate.
AUDIO: Representative Genise Montecillo inquires Representative Kurt Bahr, 2:56
AUDIO: Representative Margo McNeil inquires Representative Kurt Bahr, 9:24