The bloviating GOP majority that has a stranglehold on Missouri politics is uncharacteristically silent about their attempts to mangle health care for Missourians, from dismantling the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — to taking health care coverage away from almost a hundred thousand Missouri children.
U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., jabbers about alleged social media “censoring” of conservatives, and trumpets support for Donald Trump, but refused to answer any inquiries from The Jaco Report and the Northsider/Southsider about his federal lawsuit that could toss out Obamacare and leave hundreds of thousands of Missourians without health insurance.
State Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, tweets that women falsely claim they’ve been raped just so they can have a late-term abortion a few days before their due date. His Republican colleague Rep. Barry Hovis of Cape Girardeau says most rapes are “consensual.” Neither will say a word about their refusal to expand Medicaid that has resulted in 97,000 Missouri children under 18 losing medical coverage.
Their silence about health care issues that affect all Missourians contrasts starkly with their noise about social issues that inflame their right-wing base, and that silence was on full display in the newest edition of The Jaco Report.
Washington University health care economist Tim McBride chairs the state’s Medicaid Oversight Committee, designed to keep track of health outcomes and spending in the state’s Medicaid program. Missouri’s Medicaid rolls have been shrinking more quickly than any other state’s. GOP Gov. Mike Parson harrumphs that it’s because Missouri’s economy is improving so quickly.
That is, quite simply, a lie. What’s happening is that an antiquated computer system, overworked bureaucrats and a smug GOP super-majority determined to slash benefits for the state’s “takers” have combined to toss people off Medicaid at a rate five times higher than in any other state.
On The Jaco Report, McBride was asked if those 97,000 children were going without health care, or using emergency rooms, or were getting sicker. This is the verbatim exchange:
Jaco: “So what happens? You’ve got 100,000 children who are no longer eligible for Medicaid. Does that mean they are effectively without any care, do they have to use ERs, what’s the situation?”
McBride: “So, I’ve been asking that question. I keep asking that question, and I’m not getting an answer. But I’m starting.”
Jaco: “What?! No one knows?”
McBride: “I can’t get an answer to that from the Medicaid Oversight Committee.”
And if the chairman of the state’s Medicaid Oversight Committee can’t get a straight answer as to what’s happened to medical care for children tossed off the Medicaid rolls, you can be pretty sure the state of Missouri doesn’t know, and in many cases, doesn’t care.
The same pretty well applies to the lawsuit initiated by Hawley and disgraced then-Gov. Eric Greitens, joining 19 other GOP-run states trying to toss out the Affordable Care Act: They don’t know what will happen, and probably don’t care, because the lawsuit currently being heard by the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is about conservative ideology, not health care.
Hawley refused to respond when asked about the lawsuit’s effects by The Jaco Report. His appointed successor who’s currently running the anti-Obamacare lawsuit, state Attorney General Eric Schmitt, also refused to answer emailed queries about how getting rid of the ACA would impact Missourians.
But Thomas McAuliffe, health policy director for the nonprofit Missouri Foundation for Health, told The Jaco Report that the impact of declaring Obamacare unconstitutional would hit Missouri hard.
“Hundreds of thousands of Missourians will find themselves either in the process of losing their insurance or uninsured,” McAuliffe said. “I think people are plowing ahead, not thinking of a replacement, not thinking of what happens.”
If the lawsuit started by Hawley and currently being overseen by Schmitt succeeds, it would be legal once again for insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and adult children ages 18 to 25 would no longer have insurance through their parent’s policies.
“With no pre-existing condition exclusion protections, people who have cancer, who have diabetes, who have migraines, they would not have coverage,” McBride added. “All of a sudden their premiums would go up, if they had coverage at all.”
No wonder Missouri Republicans remain silent about the health care scam policies they support.