A healthcare exchange is a web-based marketplace for consumers to compare insurance plans before purchasing one. These exchanges are a vital part of the federal law mandating every person to purchase healthcare insurance. States will be required to set up exchanges in compliance with the Affordable Healthcare Act or Obamacare. Federal law requires every state to set up such an exchange by January of 2014, and if they do not do so by that date, then the federal government will set it up for the state. Unless Obamacare is overturned, this is what we as a state can expect to happen.
While such an exchange does not initially seem harmful, it is another chip out of our individual freedoms and another step toward total governmental control of our healthcare. In addition, the estimated cost to set up such a program for Missouri is $50 million.
The purpose of Proposition E is to prevent the governor or any of his state agencies from setting up a healthcare exchange without the approval of the General Assembly and/or our state’s voters. The governor has stated that his administration would not move to set up an insurance exchange by decree. However, some legislators are not comfortable with just his statement, especially in light of some of his past actions of trying to create an exchange, or with this past summer’s Supreme Court decision that upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare. Legislators want to take measures to insure that the governor does not go ahead and set up an exchange without the approval of the voters or the Legislature.
The nationalizing of healthcare has never been popular with Missouri voters. In 2010 Missourians passed Proposition C by more than a two to one margin. At that time the constitutionality of the Affordable Healthcare Act was still in question. Today the only way that this act can be overturned is by electing a president who will repeal it and who has the help of both the U.S House and the U.S. Senate.
Official ballot language for Proposition E will read as follows:
“Shall Missouri law be amended to prohibit the governor, or any state agency, from establishing or operating state-based health insurance exchanges unless authorized by a vote of the people or the Legislature?
No direct cost or savings for state and local governmental entities are expected from this proposal. Indirect costs or savings related to enforcement actions, missed federal funding, avoided implementation costs, and other issues are unknown.”
A “yes” vote on Proposition E will amend Missouri law to prohibit the establishment or the operation of an insurance exchange that is created by the governor or any other state individual or agency. If an exchange is to be established in Missouri, it must be done by a vote of the people or by the state’s General Assembly. If passed, Proposition E will have no impact on state taxes.
A “no” vote on Proposition E will leave Missouri law unchanged. It will allow the governor or a state agency to create a healthcare exchange at his or its own discretion.
Unfortunately, the Affordable Healthcare Act, along with the healthcare exchanges, is just another federal government mandate which states are being forced to deal with. We as a state and a nation cannot afford Obamacare, nor its federally mandated programs that will have to be taxpayer funded.
Proposition E will give Missourians another opportunity to make a statement regarding Obamacare, but we will have to wait for the November election results to see what our next step will be. This is just one of the reasons why all of November’s races are so very important.