This is good news. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (Dem.) (recently re-elected by about 10% in a state that supported Romney) is standing up to the radical right in this state:
JEFFERSON CITY • Gov. Jay Nixon wants to expand Missouri’s Medicaid program to provide health care coverage to some 220,000 uninsured adults in the state.St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“As governor I have both the opportunity and obligation to keep Missouri moving forward,” he told reporters in a conference call this morning. “It is the smart thing to do and it is the right thing to do.”
Nixon said he will put the expansion — which will be fully funded by the federal government for the first three years under the Affordable Care Act — in the state budget proposal he submits to lawmakers, but the move puts him at odds with Republican legislative leaders, who have said that the state can’t afford the long-term costs of expanding the program.
“I don’t see this as a Republican/Democrat issue,” Nixon said of the potential battle ahead over the expansion. “We’re not going to let politics get in the way of doing the best thing for our state.”
Unfortunately, the Republicans have a veto-proof majority in both houses in the legislature and likely will defeat this. They prefer death to Obama care, even if it causes pain in their beloved rural parts of the state:
Missouri hospitals could lose millions of dollars if the Legislature rejects the expansion.St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Federal Disproportionate Share Hospital payments that hospitals receive for treating the uninsured will be cut under the health care law on the assumption that hospitals will be able to make up the lost revenue through increased Medicaid payments.
During a call with reporters Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said the expansion was necessary “to make sure rural hospitals stay open.”
So poor folks likely will lose out in Missouri, and the S.Ct. decision allows it to happen. This still is good news. It's a moral issue and Governor Nixon stepped up and did the right thing. He's a moderate Democrat, to the right of me, but he is pro-choice and pro-union, and this is a pro-people act in supporting the Medicaid expansion. It's basic decency.
His second term ends in 2016, when he may run against Senator Blunt (R.) He has been an elected official statewide since 1992 (AG until 08 when he was elected governor). He can beat Blunt and he would be a real improvement.
Nixon and McCaskill will frustrate liberals like me at times, but for a reddish state they are far better than the most "moderate conservative" Republican in the senate.
Nixon did not have to do this. He could have taken the blue-dog road, and still would have been nominated by Dems in 2016 and likely beat Blunt anyway. He did the right thing. I'm glad.
The Dem Party is a big tent, and I think Nixon's action is a good example of what moderate Dems with courage can do, even if we more progressive Dems don't agree with them on all issues.