JEFFERSON CITY -- Proposition C isn't getting a free ride to the Aug. 3 vote after all. It turns out the Missouri Hospital Association has decided to spend some of its money opposing the ballot issue that would allow Missourians to opt out of federal health insurance mandates.
The hospital association, a powerful lobbying force in the state Capitol, spent more than $200,000 this month sending out fliers opposing Prop C, which is being pushed by conservative Missouri Republicans who opposed President Barack Obama's health care bill.
According to a statement on the hospital association Web site, the group opposes Proposition C because hospitals get hit with the bill when uninsured patients come through their doors. The federal health care plan aims to increase the amount of people in the country on insurance.
"Without an enforceable individual mandate, fewer individuals are likely to purchase coverage at a cost of approximately $500 million throughout 10 years. That’s right — Missouri’s hospitals could lose up to a half billion dollars through the loss of the individual mandate. That money will either go back to the federal treasury, or more likely, be sent to other states to fund additional coverage. MHA made this argument in the General Assembly," wrote MHA CEO Herb Kuhn. "Much will be said during the next few weeks about the individual mandate and the notion of “individual freedom.” That is a powerful and persuasive argument. There is, however, another side of the story, and that’s the notion of “fairness.” Fairness to make sure Missouri’s hard-earned Medicare and Medicaid dollars stay in the state and fairness in sharing in the cost of health coverage for all"