To the editor:
On April 16, more than 2,000 constituents descended upon Missouri's capitol in Jefferson City. The purpose of this visit was to support “Full Medicaid Expansion Now.” Teams of supporters divided up and made efforts to visit all the senators and representatives in the state capital building to build support for this very important piece of legislation. In a nutshell, here is what Medicaid Expansion would do for the State of Missouri:
n 260,000 uninsured citizens would gain health insurance coverage.
n 24,000 jobs would be created.
n 15,000 lives would be saved.
n $8.2 billion in federal dollars would be invested in Missouri by 2020.
n Local hospitals would be protected from devastating funding cuts and layoffs.
n Working families protected from devastating medical debt.
n Missouri would pay 0% for the first three years of the program.
n For every year following the first three years, Missouri would only pay 10% of the program.
n $26, 344 per year, the maximum amount a family of three can make to qualify, 138% of the federal poverty level.
n Without the program, that same family of three could only make $3,504 per year.
Republicans in the state legislature have only one thing in mind as Medicaid Expansion winds its way through the State Senate and the House, allowing it to die a very slow death. For example, Rep. Mike Cierpoit, Republican-Lee's Summit, appeared before the Independence Chamber of Commerce and called the plan: “Bad insurance for poor people.” Apparently, he never read the above data that is part of the Expansion. Sen. Paul LeVota, Democrat-Independence, had a different view: “I think we need reform and this is the time to do it.”
Now with regard to those more than 2,000 constituents who visited Jefferson City last week in an attempt to visit with their elected legislature members, here is what they discovered: Most of their members apparently were suddenly called into session or were suddenly called into an out of the building caucus meeting.
Elected representatives, be it a House member or a Senate member, have certain responsibilities and among those are to be available to your constituents at all times. But instead, most ran for parts unknown thus averting one of their utmost responsibilities.
These words come to mind for those that ran away: Arrogant, egotistical, irresponsible and reprehensible.