By Jordan Overstreet
Special to The Globe
JOPLIN, Mo. —
In Rep. Tom Flanigan’s column in the Feb. 3 Globe regarding the question of Medicare expansion, he dismissed the wisdom of Gov. Jay Nixon, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and nearly all health care associations, including our local hospitals, by suggesting there is no “depth” to their argument and he mocks Gov. Nixon’s assertion that it’s “the right thing to do.”
If we judge Flanigan’s editorial by depth, it would be measured as shallow. He dismisses the 31-page study of the University of Missouri that found enormous economic benefits from Medicaid expansion by arguing that the economic benefits come from borrowed money “and it will ultimately come from our residences and our businesses.”
He neglects to mention that over 90 percent of this money has already been taken from Missouri taxpayers through federal taxes.
The Medicaid expansion proposes to return this money to Missouri to provide low-income Missourians with decent health care. Flanigan obviously is against Obamacare and apparently not enthusiastic about Medicaid. But is this any reason to tell the federal government to keep over $8 billion (paid by Missourians) that would be returned to Missouri over the next six years?
Instead of helping low-income families in Missouri, it would be used to provide medical care in other states.
Flanigan may have ideological objections to Obamacare and using tax dollars to help poor families with their medical care. But we should ask whether his rigid ideology has overwhelmed his common sense.
I agree with Gov. Nixon, the business community, the medical community and the majority of Missourians: Medicaid expansion is a smart thing to do, and it is the right thing to do.