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Mo. House passes rebuke of fed. health care law

Mo. Capitol
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)
Mo. Capitol

The Missouri House has passed legislationthat seeks to both bar and criminalize enforcement of the 2010 federal health care law.

If passed, the state of Missouri would not recognize the federalAffordable Care Act, and any federal official who tries to enforce it in Missouri would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.  Also, any person who is targeted by a federal official seeking to enforce the ACA would have the right to sue that official.  The sponsor,State Rep. Kurt Bahr(R, O’Fallon, Mo.), says the U.S. Constitutiondoesn’t give the federal government the right to force citizens to purchase anything.

“Our oath is to support and defend the Constitution, to know and to understand it, not to simply say, ‘If the federal government says so, therefore we must cow(tow) to it and do the bidding of the federal government," Bahr said.

Democrats say the bill is unconstitutional and that Congress does have the authority to pass health care requirements.  Rory Ellinger(D, University City) argued that the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution gave Congress the authority to pass the health care law.

“Clearly, health care is interstate," Ellinger said.  "For us to say that we can overturn it is as incorrect as saying that theWhisky Rebellionwas okay, that(George) Washingtondidn’t have the right to put it down.”

The bill passed 108-44-1, with nine Democrats joined the GOP majority in voting “yes."  One Republican House Member, Chris Molendorpof Belton, voted “present.”  The bill now goes to the Missouri Senate.

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.