Kinder cuts deal with Koster on health-care suit
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has retooled his lawsuit against the federal health-care law to make it clear that he's not suing on behalf of the state of Missouri.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, in turn,dropped his court challenge of Kinder's initial suit, which Koster said at the time was ambiguous as to the lieutenant governor's intent.
Kinder spokesman Gary McElyea said today that both offices engaged in negotiations in "a bipartisan manner" (Kinder is a Republican, and Koster a Democrat) over how best to resolve their dispute.
The bottom line: Kinder revised his language with a simple sentence, and Koster dropped his objections. Both changes were made late last week.
Koster spokeswoman Nanci Gonder concurred with the Kinder camp's basic account. "We feel the language they added conforms,'' she said, with state law stipulating that only the attorney general can sue on behalf of the state.
The language added states, "Lt. Gov. Kinder is not bringing this case on behalf of the state of Missouri as a state."
McElyea said Kinder's changes make it clear that he is suing as a private citizen and in his role as the state's "senior advocate."
Kinder also has increased the number of elderly co-plaintiffs to five Medicare recipients who contend in the suit that they will be harmed by the federal law's phaseout of the more costly Medicare Advantage option. No word on when a judge will next hear the case.
This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon.