Health
3:05 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Nixon's Stance On Insurance Mandate Clarified And Criticized

With a decision on the federal health law nearing, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, is further defending his own position on a federal health insurance mandate.

He says he’s been consistent in opposing this key part of the federal health law for some time.

Earlier this week, Nixon said he didn’t think requiring people to purchase health insurance was good for Missourians. Several Republicans then criticized him for not previously taking a clear stance on this provision or on the entire federal health law. The St. Louis post reports:

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder noted that Nixon did not join legal challenges that sought to block the law. In June of 2010, while I was vigorously raising private money to fund a constitutional challenge to Obamacare, Gov. Nixon told reporters, 'the job now is to attempt to implement the law of the land,'" Kinder said in a statement. GOP gubernatorial hopeful Dave Spence challenged Nixon "to point to one prior on-the-record comment or letter or speech or email or tweet or FaceBook post or hand-written note or message in a bottle that would support his ridiculous claim that his stance against Obamacare has been 'pretty clear.'

Nixon did tell the Kansas City Star several months ago that he opposes a mandate, but he has appeared mum on how he voted in 2010 on Proposition C, a state constitutional provision opposing a federal mandate for buying health insurance or paying a fine. The Kansas City Star reports:

Patrick Tuohey, who ran the campaign in favor of Prop C, says he can't remember Nixon ever taking a public stance on the proposal.  No official campaign committee was ever formed specifically to oppose Prop C. Hospitals spent some money to defeat the measure, but Nixon was not involved. From a Kraske column in October 2010: Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s position on Prop C? Get this: He didn’t take one.

Responding to questions from reporters in Kansas City earlier today, Nixon seemed to indicate that he supported Proposition C, which passed with 71 percent of the vote.

“Clearly I’ve not supported that mandate, and my actions as an individual citizen are as a governor have reflected that,” Nixon said.

Missouri’s Attorney General, Chris Koster, broke with his party line last year in filing a legal brief in support of a challenge to the federal insurance mandate.

The U.S. Supreme Court, meanwhile, is slated to rule tomorrow on the constitutionality of the entire federal health law and the individual insurance mandate.

-------------------

Find more Health Coverage on KCUR.

Follow KCUR health news on Twitter.