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Missouri Republicans Sue Over November Healthcare Ballot

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ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) - Missouri Republican leaders charge Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan is "misleading" voters with what they call a "biased" summary of a ballot issue on the November ballot.  Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder and several others filed suit in Cole County Circuit Court Tuesday asking a judge to replace the summary.

Carnahan says their lawsuit against her summary is "political."  The Secretary of State's office issued a statement saying the summary for a vote on how a state health insurance exchange could be established is "fair and accurate."

The measure asks voters to decide whether Governor Jay Nixon should be prohibited from setting up a health insurance exchange without an approving vote from the people or the legislature.

The proposed statute was placed on the ballot by the Republican dominated Missouri Legislature in an attempt to weaken the scope of President Obama's health care reform act known as Affordable Care or Obamacare.

Carnahan had to write the summary because the legislature failed to provide its own summary.  Her summary of Senate Bill 464 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?"  

The lawsuit says the ballot summary violates state law because it is "argumentative"  rather than "informative" because it attempts to "imply that health care access will be denied if the Ballot Proposal is adopted," and it is "intended to mislead people about what the Ballot Proposal would do, and would not do."  

Republicans say the measure, if approved, would just bar the Governor from establishing a state health insurance exchange.  Senate Bill 464 already requires the legislature to pass a law or an appropriations bill allowing the state to accept federal funds to set up a state-based health insurance exchange or a federally established exchange.

Betsey.Bruce@tvstl.com
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