It’s been a busy couple of days in the state capitol. Two primary issues getting attention are tax reform and the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion. Tax reform is anticipated to see a lot of action on the Senate floor this week and we will be writing about it later. The Obamacare Medicaid expansion will see no action on the floor!
Besides the bills addressed in Medicaid Expansion – Your Voices Heard!, two key issues arose regarding Medicaid expansion in the past few days. One dealt with a bill that was filed last week which was errantly said to expand Medicaid. It didn’t. The second dealt with a poll petitioned by proponents of the Obamacare Medicare expansion. You will no doubt be surprised that the poll results support expansion!
First, we will look at the alleged expansion bill, Senate Bill 456 sponsored by Senator Mike Parson.
208.248. Any section of any legislation passed by the general
2 assembly that authorizes the provisions of MO HealthNet benefits to
3 persons described in Section 2001 of Public Law 111-148 shall sunset on
4 December 31, 2016, unless reauthorized by an act of the general
5 assembly. The department of social services shall notify the revisor of
6 statutes if such changes to the MO HealthNet program occur.
That’s it. No expansion. No support for expansion. Could it be used as a “shell bill” later? Possibly and that’s a legitimate concern that deserves to be watched over.
I’ve spoken directly with Senator Parson and Senator Dempsey about the bill. While I disagree with the need to file the bill, I’m convinced that it was not done with any intention to use it to expand Medicaid.
It’s interesting that Senator Dempsey was labeled as “in on” this non-Medicaid expansion movement. He is not a co-sponsor of the bill and wasn’t even aware of it until it was introduced. There has been over 8200 emails sent by our members opposing the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. Senator Dempsey has recieved a copy of every one and he is quite aware of the opposition to expansion. He has never expressed the desire to expand it.
The second issue is a poll that was released this week stating that Republicans would do well to support the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. The poll was done by Republican strategists who have been hired by those who have the most to gain from expansion – hint it’s not taxpayers or current Medicaid recipients – to convince Republicans to vote for the expansion. Problem is that the poll is not trustworthy and is so far not being accepted by legislators as being meaningful.
What the poll does demonstrate is the intense pressure that is being applied to members of the General Assembly to take a foolhardy action. It demonstrates the lengths to which those who support the Obamacare Medicaid expansion and the big government spending represented by it are willing to go. Every day people are walking into legislators offices in order to convince them to vote against the will and best interest of their constituents. It is without a doubt some of the most intense pressure I have seen in my time in the capitol.
Should we be concerned about bills that might be used as vehicles to implement the Obamacare Medicaid expansion? Absolutely!
We should never hesitate to jump with both feet on those who would take obvious actions that counteract what their constituents have clearly indicated is their will. However, when that time comes we should have our facts straight and our guns aimed in the right direction. We won’t pull any punches if and when that time comes.
Until then, we need to encourage them to continue standing with us, not attacking them for something they didn’t do. The result of the latter is a loss in credibility.