The Missouri Senate calls for a statewide vote on whether any Missourian would have to take part in the new federal healthcare program. If the House approves Senator Jane Cunningham’s proposal, Missourians will vote on a proposed law exempting them from any federal requirement that they get health insurance, and prohibiting the federal government from fining or otherwise penalizing them. Cunningham does not prohibit anybody from taking part in the program.

A few Senators object to Cunningham’s plan, including Rita Days of St. Louis, who says she’s glad the federal government has decided to join the rest of the industrialized world in taking care of people who cannot take care of themselves.

The proposal is kind of a half-a-loaf. Backers originally wanted a constitutional amendment but couldn’t get to a vote in the Senate. How much value Cunningham’s proposal really will have is open to question. Federal law usually takes precedence over state law.

She hopes the House will let her bill on the ballot during the August primary.

AUDIO: Debate 43 min