Florida Deadline Comes and Goes; Missouri’s Attorney General Is Not Yet On Board
Not only have a majority of Missouri voters signaled that they’re against the health care law, lawmakers in Jeff City have, too. The Missouri Senate recently filed a resolution, SR 27, encouraging Attorney General Chris Koster to join the multistate lawsuit in Florida that challenges the federal health care regulation. This resolution is similar to the one passed recently by the Missouri House, HR 39. Practically the only person who hasn’t demonstrated interest in joining the lawsuit is Koster.
This is an issue that we have been tracking very closely at the Show-Me Institute.
Critics argue that joining the lawsuit will be a waste of time and money for Missouri. This argument is not factually true; Missouri will incur few costs by joining. If Koster decided to join the lawsuit, the only cost for the taxpayers of Missouri would be the time it takes for somebody in the attorney general’s office to write the letter, along with the price of a postage stamp — if that.
Although states are free to help offset the costs of the lawsuit, it is completely voluntary. Furthermore, the maximum amount that they may contribute is $5,000. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there are 5,988,927 individuals living in Missouri. If they were to split this sum equally, each person would pay less than nine hundredths of one cent to fund Missouri’s contribution to the lawsuit. That’s 9 cents for every 100 residents. Decrying the cost of the lawsuit is a smokescreen argument.
Koster would be wise to free-ride on the Florida lawsuit. Missourians have nothing to lose by joining the lawsuit, but they have much to gain, such as freedom in their health care decisions.