Argument Over Missouri Health Care Ballot Language Heads to Court

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Gavel, File photo

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A judge is set to hear arguments on Tuesday over the language on the Missouri November ballot involving a health care proposal that some GOP lawmakers say is misleading.

In a lawsuit, Republican lawmakers claim that the ballot language, written by Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, would prohibit Missouri officials from creating a health insurance exchange with the voters or legislature approving it first.

Missouri’s GOP-led legislature approved the measure earlier this year in response to the federal healthcare overhaul and referred it to a state-wide vote.

The ballot language reads, in part, “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.”

An attorney for Republicans say that the language is misleading and tries to manipulate voters by mentioning denying access to families and small businesses.

Attorneys for the state note that the GOP-led legislature had the option of writing the proposal themselves, but chose not to.

There is no word on when the judge will reach a decision.

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