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Missouri Patients Adrift2007-06-05 16:50:43gotownus

It's a cruel irony that the one big thing preventing an increasing number of Missourians from receiving necessary medical care is Governor Matt Blunt and his administration that have so deprived hundreds of thousands of Missourians of needed healthcare while giving the cuts in healthcare in Missouri to other “special” interests. The new Missouri program replacing Medicaid, i.e. Missouri HealthNet, — "You may wonder why we’re at a Jiffy Lube to talk about health care. Well, I think it makes some sense," Blunt said today at a Jiffy Lube station on Sandman Lane in south Columbia. "You know that you can get your oil changed at the Jiffy Lube or a Jiffy Lube in Florida, and they know about your car." Transferring that approach to the health-care arena, Blunt said time, money and patient safety could be enhanced through electronic records, something he said he’d like to enhance through his MO HealthNet initiative. The just-completed session of the Missouri legislature provided very little substance for the citizens of our state for 2007. The worst piece of legislation passed was SB 577, which Governor Matt Blunt touted to be a blessing for our poorest citizens. It was anything but. The Mo Healthnet bill did not include 100,000-plus of our poorest families, which also included 70,000 children. They were simply left out and left wondering what they're going to do for health care. Putting people first - especially the poorest - has never been high on this Republican legislature's and governor's priority list. Every legislator and the governor took an oath to protect and serve the people of this state but in the end wound up serving themselves, their special friends and interests. That is not what governing, leadership, and service to others is all about. I'm sure that most all our state's citizens will remember this come election time in 2008. MO HealthNet, by far the most widely known piece of legislation in the public eye this year, is a disastrous bill that does nothing to restore health care benefits to the thousands of Missourians that lost coverage in 2005. The Republican Party pushed this initiative to suit Gov. Matt Blunt's needs and not those of Missourians. It is unforgivable that thousands of children will not be covered under this newly renamed program. When the bill returned to the House for final approval late on the last day, Republicans bullied their way through the debate claiming "Democrats need to suck it up and move on because we all can't always get what we want." This came from a Republican majority that spent most of the legislative session limiting debate on important issues. Health care for everyone is of vital importance and should have free and fair debate. Instead, the Republican majority gave HB 577 two hours on the last day of session to hear Democratic concerns with a plan that lacks merit, as a ploy to prevent any further Senate bills from passing in the House. It is tradition on the last day of session not to bar legislation but to pass as many bills as possible. Gov. Blunt and his legislative henchman pushed more of the same nonsense values they have always pushed rather than heeding Missourians' calls for change.