JEFFERSON CITY — A Cole County judge threw out the Democratic secretary of state’s summary of a health care ballot measure Tuesday, replacing it with one backed by Republicans.
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and a handful of legislative leaders filed a lawsuit last month accusing the secretary of state’s office of writing a ballot summary that was “blatantly false, deceptive and intended to mislead the people.” After hearing arguments from both sides Tuesday morning, Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green agreed with Republicans.
Kinder called the ruling an “enormous victory” for Missouri voters.
“It is imperative that voters have a clear and impartial summary on this crucial ballot issue that affects our healthcare rights and taxpayer dollars,” he said.
The Republican-controlled General Assembly approved a statewide ballot measure for November that would ask voters whether Missouri officials should be barred from creating a health insurance exchange without approval from voters or the legislature. Health exchanges, which are a key component of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, are an online marketplace for individuals to compare and purchase insurance plans.
The new ballot summary says: “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 by the legislature?”
The wording was one of four suggested alternatives put forth by Republicans who filed the lawsuit.