What’s Happening Report: September 30, 2019

If we were having coffee, I would talk with you about Medicaid expansion.

I don’t normally talk about Medicaid expansion. There are current issues with Medicaid and I have been concerned that these would be expanded with Medicaid expansion. But a couple of things recently have changed my thoughts on this.

First, you have to understand that for a person to be eligible for Medicaid, they must be poor AND something else. Poor AND a child. Poor AND pregnant. Poor AND disabled. And so on …

In states that have expanded Medicaid, the only status someone needs to qualify is that they make under 136% of the federal poverty level. For a family of 4, this is roughly $660 per week. And that’s it. On top of which, the Federal government–taxes you and I already pay–goes to pay 90% of the cost of this.

The implications of this are huge. For one thing, it really cuts down on administrative paperwork. Nationally, almost 50% of applications are processed within 7 days. In comparison, the average time for a family Medicaid application to be processed in Missouri is 55 days. Imagine the cost savings just from cutting down on that paperwork.

But one thing I saw firsthand this past weekend is the implications that Medicaid expansion would have on rural Missouri. Last weekend, I went with several Democrats to southeastern Missouri to listen to people about what’s happening in that part of the state. One of the biggest things on people’s minds was Medicaid expansion and concerns about hospitals closing.
We have had 8 hospital closures in Missouri over the past several years. We stopped at the one in Kennett. Several years ago, the CEO of this hospital testified that if Missouri didn’t expand Medicaid, they would close. Now, there’s a sign on the hospital door today directing people to the closest emergency room, 17 miles away.

Imagine driving a relative having a stroke 17 miles just to get stabilized. Or being in labor and having no nearby maternity ward. That is reality for people who live here.

There are petitions circulating around the state to put Medicaid expansion on the ballot. Next month, the House Subcommittee on Healthcare Reform will meet to discuss Medicaid expansion. Please let me know if you are interesting in testifying at that committee meeting, which is October 8 at 12:30 PM in the Missouri Capitol.

In other news …
We are preparing for Make a Difference Day in Shrewsbury/Webster Groves on October 26. This is a day of good deeds, when neighbors are encouraged to volunteer to help their neighborhood. Make a Difference Day is held the fourth Saturday in October. If you are interested in being a sponsor for this year’s event or in participating, please e-mail me.
Each year, the Governor’s Council on Disability distributes a Legislative Priorities Poll to assist in understanding issues important to Missourians with disabilities and those who work and live with them.Here is a link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QNRSVQ2. It is open until November 7. I look at the results of the survey every year!
RealID Update
RealID compliant drivers and nondrivers licenses are now available with properdocumentationYou can go to the DMV and request a replacement for your current license with the Real ID for a $5 processing fee. If you renew your license at the time of the request you will be charged the renewal fee. You need a RealID compliant Identification Card to board an airplane and enter federal buildings; Missouri issued Identification Cards (including drivers’ licenses) will be accepted in lieu of RealID until October 1, 2020. For more information about RealID, go to dor.mo.gov/drivers/real-id-information/.
The Census is Coming!
The US Constitution requires the federal government to take a count of people living in the United States every 10 years — and 2020 is it! Everyone means everyone — adults and children, citizens and noncitizens. The data collected from the census will be used, among other things, to reapportion legislative districts.
The Census is hiringApply here.
Watch this space for more information on the 2020 Census!
Capitol Construction
The Missouri Capitol will be under construction for the next two years. Many streets around the Capitol are closed, with signs directing an alternate route. The Capitol Dome is also closed. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.
Even though I will not be in Jefferson City regularly, you are welcome to stop by my office if you are there. If you have an issue to talk with me about, it is best to make an appointment through my assistant, Nancy, at 573-751-1285.
I enjoy opportunities to meet with people in the community and participate in local events. It’s one of the best parts of my job!
Thanks for reading. Have a great week!