I wrote Gov. Blunt on 02/09/05 with six specific questions on the impact of his proposed Medicaid budget cuts. I sent this letter to various news organizations wondering why a response was never forthcoming. I feel it is only fair to report that a response was finally received. It was dated 03/14/05. While I am unsure how much of the letter can be repeated due to the 'confidentiality statement' at the bottom of the e-mail, I will attempt to summarize the answers that were received.
The personalized correspondence ("Dear Constituent") thanked me for my e-mail. It then proceeded to talk about education funding and need to reduce social welfare spending. It includes many quotes from press releases issued by the Governor's office in January and February. One of the areas stressed is to crack down on fraud and abuse by recipients and to make sure eligibility is verified yearly. (Something that is already being done) There is never any mention of cracking down on fraud or abuse by the vendors (in many cases large corporations) that provide services or products. I was told the changes would be difficult. The letter, however, gives no response or answer to any of the six questions presented in my original correspondence.
I have since found out that our state representatives and senators still have not been given a copy of the budget, which includes these massive budget cuts. Why are the governor and leaders of the general assembly not giving the people all the facts? How are these cuts going to effect the citizens and state employees? Why are they waiting until the last minute (adjournment is May 13) to give our elected officials time to review our states finances? Why are we not debating and getting a consensus of what our priorities should be?
Everyone should keep a careful watch of the unfolding developments in Jefferson City. I pray that in balancing the budget, we don't do it on the backs of the poorest and most vulnerable but rather live by the words found in Mathew 25. 37-40.
The decisions that will be made in the days and weeks ahead will have a direct and major impact on the lives of the citizens, neighborhoods and businesses in every community in Missouri.