OPINION

Missouri legislators are directly disobeying the voters' orders

The Examiner

Marvin Sands, Independence

To the editor:

For the last several weeks our Missouri state legislature has been tossing around one of the most important pieces of legislation in our state’s history. It is called Medicaid rxpansion. The voters of Missouri through an initiative petition and by a 53% majority decided that it is time for the state to expand Medicaid and make it available to over 230,000 of our poorest citizens. Medicaid expansion is now part of the Missouri Constitution.

Now the Missouri General Assembly has had numerous opportunities to enact Medicaid expansion but has decided not to do so, claiming the state doesn’t have the financial resources to fund the program. They’re wrong of course because the program would allow for the federal government to provide $1.4 billion from the Affordable Care Act and the Federal Aid Bill to add another $1.1 billion. More than enough to fund the program.

So what are our state representatives really doing? Very simply put – defying the will of the people and doing it on purpose. As State Representative Justin Hill of Lake St. Louis said recently: “I’m proud to stand against the will of the people, who were lied to.”

And so the Missouri House did exactly what they wanted to do and passed their budget without providing the funding for Medicaid expansion, which is in violation of the state’s Constitution which, of course, is extremely disturbing. It is the same as taking the law into their own hands.

Medicaid expansion would provide thousands of jobs for the state, which would in turn boost tax revenues for towns, cities, counties and yes, even the state itself. Supporters have testified repeatedly that the program will more than pay itself, but our Republican friends have consistently ignored the facts and the will of the people.

In addition Republican House members have consistently lied about the budget, mischaracterizing Medicaid and even calling voters to stupid to know what they were doing when they voted for expansion last August .

And so our vastly more intelligent dignitaries who take up residence in Jefferson City about this same time every year and have decided to violate our Constitution will now have to depend on the state Senate to either ensure that Medicaid Expansion gets funded or have our court system tell them how to obey the law as stated in our Constitution.