By Chris Mathews, State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY (MDN)- The Senate Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee met Tuesday, Jan. 28, to discuss a bill that would effectively prohibit the federal health care act within the state of Missouri.

Following the leads of lawmakers from South Carolina and Georgia, the Senate bill known as the Health Care Freedom Act, would prohibit state government workers from assisting in federal efforts to collect penalties for failing to have health insurance. According to the law, if passed, it would be a state’s right to have or not to have health insurance. However, on June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the federal health care act, citing it as a tax rather than a mandate and therefore ruled constitutional.

The bill relies primarily on the Constitution’s 10th Amendment, citing that taking control of the health care system is not an enumerated power granted to the Federal Government.

“States do not have to participate in the implementation of federal laws they do not like,” said Ron Calzone, a board director from Missouri First and an advocate for the bill. “It’s the state’s prerogative to resist by not participating.”

The bill would also suspend the licenses of health insurance issuers who accept “any remuneration that may result in the imposition of penalties contrary to Missouri’s public policy.” The license suspension would only be lifted if the issuer returned the subsidies and denied any further remuneration.

Opponents of the bill urged lawmakers to hold off on a hasty decision until lawsuits in Oklahoma relating to the federal health care act reach their respective verdicts.

The committee did not take immediate action or vote on the bill during the meeting.

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