The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 12, 2013

Your View: To expand or not to expand

By Grant Collings
Special to The Globe

WEBB CITY, Mo. — In his column in Sunday’s Globe (Feb. 3), Rep. Tom Flanigan criticized Gov. Jay Nixon for not providing details regarding Medicaid expansion in his State of the State address.

Flanigan wrote: “His talking points are: ‘It’s the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do.’ And that’s the depth of his argument.”

The State of the State address is not the venue for detailed policy discussions; the legislature is. Let’s face some facts. The Medicaid expansion is the law of the land. It is going to happen no matter what, and Flanigan has the power to help Missouri or leave it footing the bill for other states.

The federal government will move forward with the expansion and pay for 100 percent of it for the next three years. If Missouri doesn’t opt to expand its Medicaid, our tax dollars will go to a state that is expanding its Medicaid.  

A report by the Missouri Hospital Association found that in 2011, Missouri hospitals incurred $1.1 billion in uncompensated care. Not only would we foot the bill for other states’ Medicaid roles, we’ll be losing out on money that goes to doctors, nurses and hospital support staffs’ paychecks. Medicaid expansion means that hundreds of thousands of Missourians will have access to the physical, mental and preventive health care they need to stay healthy and out of the emergency room. Mr. Flanigan, the choice is yours — leave Missourians to foot the bill for other states’ expansion or bring our tax dollars back to Missouri.

 Grant Collings

 Webb City