ST. LOUIS (CN) – The lieutenant governor has joined officials from other states in suing the federal government to try to stave off health-care reform – though most of Missouri’s top political players aren’t on board. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican, sued Uncle Sam after Attorney General Chris Koster and Gov. Jeremiah Nixon, both Democrats, refused to do it.
Kinder wanted to join a lawsuit in Florida involving 20 state attorneys generals, but couldn’t because he does not have the attorney general’s power to file a complaint on behalf of the state and use state money for it.
Kinder and three Missourians sued the Secretaries of Treasury, Labor, Health and Human Services, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, in Federal Court.
“Many Missourians will lose the options for health insurance they currently enjoy,” Kinder said in a statement. “Missourians have less health care coverage after the federal law was passed than they did before it was passed.”
Kinder’s move was met with skepticism by state Democrats, who want him to release the names of donors to his private legal fund.
“For months he has refused to disclose his donors,” Missouri Democratic Party spokesman Ryan Hobart told The Associated Press. “Missourians deserve to know if Peter Kinder is allowing his office to be subsidized by the insurance industry and its lobbyists or candidates who want this law repealed. Instead, up to this point, all of that information has been hidden from the public, even though Lt. Gov. Kinder is using state resources to publicize his actions.”
Kinder, who has said he is considering running against Nixon for governor in 2012, told the AP through a spokesman that the list of donors will be released, except for those who have requested anonymity.
Kinder has set up a nonprofit corporation called Health Care in Action to raise money for the lawsuit. He said he filed the complaint as the state’s senior citizen advocate and as a private citizen.
Kinder claims that Obama administration’s historic reform, known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), is unconstitutional because it exceeds the powers granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause, by requiring individuals to carry a certain amount of health care coverage.
“Long before PPACA’s passage, Congress knew the individual mandate to buy certain federally sanctioned health insurance was constitutionally repugnant,” the complaint states. “A Congressional Research Service report to Congress noted the lack of constitutional authority for the mandate requirement, finding that ‘[d]espite the breadth of powers that have been exercised under the Commerce Clause, it is unclear whether the clause would provide a solid constitutional foundation for legislation containing a requirement to have health insurance. Whether such a requirement would be constitutional under the Commerce Clause is perhaps the most challenging question posed by such a proposal, as it is a novel issue whether Congress may use this clause to require an individual to purchase a good or service.'”
Kinder also claims that the bill forces state employees to enforce a federal health care scheme, in violation of Missouri’s sovereignty; that it mandates the compensation Missouri must provide to its constitutional officers; that it imposes a direct tax penalty upon Missouri because the state requires insurance companies to cover autism treatments; and that it forces the state to violate its own constitution and implement an unconstitutional state tax increase.
He wants PPACA enjoined. He is represented by Mark “Thor” Hearne II, with Arent Fox of Los Angeles.