(KTVI)-- Thousands of Missourians converged on the state Capitol Tuesday to voice their opinions on the move toward federal control of health care, religious liberty as it relates to health care and the rights of union workers.
All three rallies attracted passionate participants eager to be heard in Jefferson City. Several of the events had been planned for months. The "Hands off My Health Care" rally coincided with U.S. Supreme Court hearings on the Affordable Health Care Act this week.
A long list of speakers including Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley and Lt. Governor Peter Kinder joined Dr. Milton Wolf, a cousin of President Obama in criticizing the Affordable Health Care Act, often called "Obamacare."
Wolf, a radiologist from Kansas City, Kansas said the President is well meaning but does not understand what makes America exceptional. "He believes our greatness is found in our bureaucracies and our regulations and an ever growing government that treats us not as citizens but as subjects," said Dr. Wolf. "I believe doctors and patients can make better decisions about health care than Washington."
Wolf and others urged more transparency from doctors and hospitals to encourage competition for both quality and cost. He thinks government should force the medical profession to compete. Instead, he said, ". The government sets a price, drives the suppliers away and that ultimately drives the price up."
The rally was sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, various Republican groups and conservative organizations. The Missouri Legislature is considering SB 464 which would prevent Missouri from implementing a health insurance exchange without approval from the legislature and the voters.
Inside the capitol building, several thousand participants rallied for religious freedom. St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlton called on the faithful to stand firm against the government mandating religious institutions provide free birth control to employees.
Missouri Right to Life, the Catholic Conference, the Missouri Baptist Convention and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod organized the rally.
Speakers urged government to protect " conscience" rights.
"We can't afford to be passive when our federal government has taken a position that forces people of faith and religious entities to act in a way that is contrary to our morals and beliefs, " said Archbishop Carlson.
Outside on the south lawn more than two thousand union members cheered speakers including Governor Jay Nixon, Treasurer Clint Zweilful and Attorney General Chris Koster as they praised the labor movement and promised to uphold laws protecting workers.
Some union members said they feel this GOP dominated legislature has placed a target on the backs of middle class workers. Efforts to repeal the state's prevailing wage law drew strong criticism from speakers. Rich Lucks, a fourth generation painter from St. Louis, said, "We don't want anybody to come into anybody's area and work for cheaper than what it costs us to live in that area."
State Senator Tim Green of North St. Louis County pointed to out of state contractors as the ones trying to monopolize construction business in the state by undercutting wages.
"This is not a labor versus non-labor issue," Green said. "This is a contracting business issue. We've had members of the business community come up and testify against these bills."
Green warned low wages will hurt the state because workers won't have the income to spend for goods and services.
Other issues worrying labor members include a push for a right to work law and changes in the workmen's compensation law.
Betsey.Bruce@tvstl.com and on Facebook Betsey Bruce on Fox 2.