Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder Press Releases
July 10, 2012
Lt. Governor Kinder files legal challenge to healthcare exchanges ballot language
Biased wording 'slap in the face' to Legislature, insult to voters
JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder today filed a lawsuit in Cole County Circuit Court in Jefferson City challenging the language that will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.
At issue is the language crafted by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan to summarize a measure passed by the General Assembly that would give voters the decision over whether the governor should be allowed to set up healthcare exchanges – a key part of President Obama’s healthcare law.
The ballot measure now reads: “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?”
Kinder said the language is “biased” and intended to skew the election results. “In my 19 years in public office, I have seen no ballot language proposed by a secretary of state that is this outrageous,” he said.
The lieutenant governor discussed the lawsuit Tuesday at stops in Cape Girardeau, Springfield, Joplin, Jefferson City and St. Louis. Several lawmakers, including legislative leaders, have agreed to join Kinder’s legal challenge to the ballot wording.
Since ObamaCare was enacted into law in 2010, Missourians have made it clear they opposed the healthcare law. In 2010, Missourians passed Proposition C in opposition to the law’s individual mandate with 71 percent of the vote.
Despite that opposition, Governor Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster refused to stand up the president and Democrats in Washington, Kinder said.
“That’s why I filed my constitutional challenge to ObamaCare, which now is awaiting a ruling in the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals,” he added. “Now I find myself again in a position of defending Missouri voters against an elected official who appears to be playing political games – acting to represent her Party rather than the voters of Missouri.”
The General Assembly put the issue on the ballot out of concern Gov. Nixon’s administration could set up a health exchange without legislative approval.
“The Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding ObamaCare gives states and their voters critical choices to make,” Kinder said. “This is one of those choices, and the Secretary of State has the responsibility to write a ballot summary that fairly describes the issue for voters to review.”
Instead, Kinder said, the ballot language is “clearly biased and likely to skew” the election’s outcome.
“Secretary of State Carnahan, with her biased wording of the ballot issue, is attempting to confuse voters for her Party’s political aims,” he said. “This is a slap in the face to the General Assembly and an insult to Missouri voters, a large percentage of who already expressed their opposition to ObamaCare through the overwhelming support for Proposition C.”
Kinder said he and lawmakers supporting the challenge hope for a quick ruling to change the ballot wording so voters “can make an informed decision on this critical issue.”