BRIDGETON, MO–(KMOX)–Missouri Governor Nixon sidestepped reporters’ questions about the politically-charged issue of health care reform in the state, cutting short a press conference when the heat was on.
The Democratic governor was asked if he will he take a position on a statewide November ballot issue, which Republicans say contains “biased” wording crafted by the Democratic Secretary of State. At issue in the proposal is whether an online marketplace should be set up to allow patients to shop for insurance policies. The Republican-sponsored plan came out of the 2011 legislative session.
“It would be very easy to stand here and say yes and no and get out of here, but I’m governor of the state of Missouri,” Nixon said, “These are significant, important issues affecting hundreds of thousands of lives, and millions of dollars, and I’m not just going to analyze it in a political context.”
Republican Lt. Governor Peter Kinder has vowed to sue over the wording of the measure, which Kinder says is “outrageous and misleading.”
The disputed ballot language poses a question to voters: 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?
The Missouri Secretary of State’s office issued a statement saying its language is a “fair and sufficient” summary of the ballot measure.
The exchanges are intended to be online shopping venues where individuals and small businesses would pick and choose private insurance plans — to help drive down health insurance costs.
Under the President Obama’s health care law, states have until 2013 to set up the exchange or the federal government could impose its own structure.
Meanwhile, Governor Nixon signed a bill into law during his visit he says will protect seniors from financial exploitation and physical abuse.
Senate Bill 689 is designed to prevent guardians or those with power of attorney from absconding with an elderly person’s assets. The new law, which takes effect Aug 28, would also make it clear that physical abuse of an elderly person is illegal, regardless of whether it was intentional or the result of reckless behavior.