Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder of Missouri filed a lawsuit today to block federally mandated health insurance in his state, claiming that Congress’s health care overhaul has overstepped governmental authority, and infringed upon state sovereignty. Kinder’s suit, filed by himself and three other Missouri residents, asserted that the federal government may not force people to purchase a product nor can it require state officials to participate in enforcing a “federal scheme.”
Missouri is not the first state to challenge the federal health care plan since it was signed into law in March.
In a written statement, Kinder, a Republican said, “Many Missourians will lose the options for health insurance they currently enjoy. Missourians have less health care coverage after the federal law was passed than they did before it was passed.”
Insurance changes sparked by the new federal health care law include the expansion of health insurance coverage, so that thirty million people currently without insurance will be covered. Parents will be able to keep dependent children on their policies to the age of 26, and Medicaid coverage will be expanded. There is a period of roughly four years before insurance is required or tax penalties will be levied.
In other lawsuits, the Justice Department has maintained that the federal health care law fits within Congress’s authority over the regulation of interstate commerce and providing for the general welfare of the American people. Further, it argued, the choice to opt out of health insurance affects everyone, insured or not.
On Wednesday, U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said that it will defend the federal health care law from challenges over constitutional or other grounds.
“We are confident that this statute is constitutional and that we will prevail,” Schmaler said.