Commentary by Missouri State Senator Gary Nodler (R-32 representing the people of Newton, Jasper and Dade counties)
"Yes" vote for Proposition C hurts nobody
Voters throughout Missouri on August 3, 2010, will be the first in the nation to have the opportunity to weigh in on the federal health care legislation passed by Congress. Thanks to legislation passed by the General Assembly during the 2010 legislative session, Missourians will be able to make their voices heard on whether they want the federal government to mandate their health care decisions.
Proposition C is on the August 3 primary ballot. Also called the Health Care Freedom Act, the ballot measure originates from a bill passed earlier this year. I co-sponsored the original measure to protect the rights of citizens in this state. If voters approve Proposition C, it will result in a constitutional amendment providing that no federal law can compel a patient, employer, or health care provider in our state to participate in any government or privately run health care system, protecting the right of patients and employers to pay directly for legal health care services.
Since the federal government passed the health care legislation, I have spoken out about my opposition to the so-called “reform.” It is a costly venture that violates the individual rights of citizens. Heightening costs will also create a serious funding dilemma for states as they try to pay for an outrageous expansion in Medicaid costs. The law hurts businesses as they are forced to cover costs for their employees. When Congress passed this legislation, I heard from a number of Missourians who were concerned that their rights were being violated. With the Health Care Freedom Act, citizens have the opportunity to make their voices heard.
The passage of Proposition C would provide citizens with health care freedom — whether they chose to buy a private plan, use the federal plan, or purchase no plan at all. On August 3, you will be able to cast your vote and tell the federal government whether you think they should have the authority to penalize you for exercising your health care freedom.
Getting banks to loan money again
This session, I drafted a resolution approved by the Legislature and sent to Washington, D.C. urging the federal government to reverse their course in implementing federal regulations that severely limit banks’ ability to lend. Senate Concurrent Resolution 33 made it clear that Missouri supports small businesses in this state, and that we want lending practices to change.
Community banks throughout Missouri are facing a situation where their hands are tied because they face tighter regulations from the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Reserve, and Missouri Division of Finance. This overly restrictive credit environment actually provides banks with an incentive not to issue loans. I sponsored SCR 33 to encourage the federal government to instead give community banks the right tools to start lending again.
The federal government, however, refuses to listen to the outcry from small business owners, community banks, and even state legislatures. Now, the private sector has taken the matter into its own hands. Sam’s Club, for example, is testing a program with Superior Financial Group. The program will offer small business loans ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to qualifying Sam’s Club business members. To qualify, applicants will need to meet basic credit criteria and be a member of Sam’s Club. The loan program is regulated by the Small Business Administration.
According to a survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business, only half of small businesses that tried to borrow last year got all or most of what they needed. In the mid-2000s, 90 percent of businesses said they got the loans they needed. This is a problem that affects, not just small business owners, but our entire economy. I continue to urge the federal government to relax regulations and give our community banks the ability to do what they do best. However, with the federal government refusing to act, I am pleased to see that some organizations are stepping up and filling the gap and working to stimulate economic recovery.