ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- The politics of health care reform is costing workers their jobs and patients their care.
Jamie Fisher, six-month-old Cannan, and seven-year-old Janiyah usually get their medical care at Connectcare on Delmar. Not anymore. Connectcare's facilities have been closed.
The holidays, meanwhile, are a lot more complicated for Connectcare workers. They've been laid off and now won’t be paid any severance or vacation pay.
Connectcare says it can't afford to pay them severance and vacation days for the same reason it had to close, politics. Federal grants that kept this place afloat were dropped under Obamacare. But Connectcare was supposed to stay open because those grants would be replaced by the state expanding Medicaid, which the feds would pay for 100 percent. But Missouri refused.
If the new health care law hadn't eliminated health care grants, this place would have stayed open. If the Missouri legislature had agreed to expand Medicaid, this place would have stayed open. In the end, both patients and employees suffer because of someone else's decision.
But it's not just Connectcare. Because the legislature refuses to expand Medicaid, hospitals across the state could lose anywhere from $250 million to $400 million. And many will either cut back severely or close entirely.
Legislative opponents of Medicaid expansion say Missouri can't afford to increase the program, even with the federal government picking up 90 percent of the cost.