JEFFERSON CITY -- Attorney General Chris Koster has decided against appealing a judge's decision to rewrite the summary of a health insurance ballot measure voters will see this November.
A Cole County judge ruled earlier this week that the summary written by Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan was "not fair and sufficient." The judge decided to replace it with a summary written by the Republicans who had sued Carnahan over the issue.
Koster, a Democrat running for re-election, announced Thursday that the new summary more accurately reflects the legislature's intent, so he will not appeal the decision.
"My job is to call balls and strikes in an impartial manner," Koster said in a statement. "The argument is over.”
Carnahan's office released a statement saying it had urged Koster to appeal and was disappointed with his decision.
"The new summary language is incomplete, uninformative and a disservice to Missouri voters who must decide on the critical issue of how and when Missouri individuals, families and small businesses will have access to affordable health care," Carnahan's office said in a statement.
Missouri voters will decide November whether state 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 and businesses 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 original summary said: "Shall Missouri law be amended to deny individuals, families, and small businesses the ability to access affordable health care plans through a state-based health benefit exchange unless authorized by statute, initiative or referendum or through an exchange operated by the federal government as required by the federal health care act?"
Koster also drew criticism from his Republican opponent this fall, Ed Martin, who said the attorney general should have rejected the summary when his office reviewed its legality to begin with.
“Had Attorney General Koster rejected Carnahan’s biased language in the first place, we would not be in this situation," Martin said. “Koster is again playing politics and shifting with the political winds, trying to have it both ways."