People throughout the nation gathered this week for the National Day of Prayer on May 6. The day is set aside as a time for people in this country to pray for guidance, protection, and strength. This year, the theme for the National Day of Prayer is, “For Such a Time as This.” It is true that many in this country are concerned with the state of our nation, particularly the recent actions of the federal government. The passage of a healthcare bill that violates an individuals’ right to freedom in healthcare has worried many, but we took action this week to protect citizens in our state.
Also called the “Healthcare Freedom Act,” the measure, which received Senate approval this week, was attached to a comprehensive insurance bill. House Bill 1764, if approved by voters, would prohibit any federal law from interfering with an individual’s health care freedom. If approved in the House before the final day of session on May 14, the Healthcare Freedom Act will be placed before voters on the August 2010 ballot. With its passage, no federal law could force a patient, employer, or healthcare provider to participate in any government or privately run health care system.
I co-sponsored this measure in its original form (SJR 25) because I support protecting the rights of Missourians to choose their own healthcare products and services. While individuals will still have the option to participate in any federal healthcare option, they will also have the ability to make their own choices in healthcare. It gives Missourians a voice in whether they want to tolerate this costly and intrusive plan passed by Washington, D.C.
Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about the concerns I have about cost sustainability in our state in relation to the federal Medicaid expansions. Businesses are worried about being able to afford the cost of insurance for their employees. Individuals are worried they will have to pay higher premiums thanks to the new laws. It is unfortunate that Washington, D.C. chose to pass such an irresponsible, expensive plan, but this legislation allows us to stand-up for the rights of Missourians.
On the day that the Senate passed this measure, activists from throughout the state gathered in the Capitol to encourage lawmakers to address this issue of healthcare freedom. These citizens made it clear they felt their voices had been ignored by Congress; I am proud to say that HB 1764 gives these and all Missourians a voice.