Proposed state constitutional amendment would block insurance mandate

A constitutional amendment in Missouri that would block a government mandate to buy health insurance could have nationwide implications, reports the Associated Press. State Rep. Tim Jones, who sponsored the amendment, said instead of a mandate, he'd rather see an "incremental approach" to reforming healthcare. 

The amendment looks to keep individuals and employers who choose not to buy insurance, and instead pay out-of-pocket for their own care, from being penalized and/or fined for doing so. The government also would not be able to fine providers for accepting such out-of-pocket payments, under the amendment. Thirty-three other states have seen similar amendments or bills filed, and the same thing is expected to happen in at least four more states. 

"Like no other time in our nation's history, the federal government has tried to insert itself into an area in which it does not belong to force Missouri citizens and citizens across the country to purchase a product," Jones said. 

The amendment, which was given preliminary approval in a 113-40 state House vote this week, could be voted on by the Missouri public in November if it passes another House vote, and one in the Senate.

Paul LeVota, Missouri's House Minority Leader, compared the push for such a mandate to the Civil Rights movement. 

"Many states did not want to do Civil Rights, but the federal government knew it was in the best interest of the country that every state follow that sort of process," LeVota said.

To learn more:
- read this Associated Press article, via BusinessWeek