Politics of healthcare reform costing workers & patients

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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.

5 comments

  • TK

    Correction….. the federal government doesn’t pick up 90 percent of the health care cost. The TAXPAYERS do! The taxpayers are eventually going to run out of money….

  • Linus Shepp

    First, the story says “the feds would pay for 100 percent” of Medicaid Expansion. Then it goes on to say at the end that “the federal government [is] picking up 90 percent of the cost.” Which is it? The question is moot, though, because as TK stated earlier, the Federal Gov’t has no money of its own and can only pay for things AFTER it has taken money away from the tax payers, which includes Missourians.

    The other aspect of the Medicaid expansion that this story doesn’t explain to the reader is the fact the the Federal Gov’t will pick up a decreasing share of the expansion costs each year. So, if Congress manages to continue to not agree on a federal budget, every state that did agree to the expansion is likely to see their federal subsidy in the cross hairs sooner rather than later.

    The Missouri Legislature was wise in its refusal to agree to the expansion because the federal gov’t is already $700 billion over its take this year; and with the economy not growing at a pace needed to create more jobs for the 90+ million that are not working, federal government over-spend (and the continued budget battles) will cause increases in expenses for the states (like medicaid) to be considered for “adjustment”. Healthcare costs are going up so this idea that somehow expanding medicaid is somehow going to lower them flies in the face of economics and common sense.

  • Linda Fiedler

    There will always be a need for Medicaid and the state was wrong in not going along with the expansion. Whats wrong with people, they have no compassion for anyone less fortunate and they just don’t want anyone to have something they don’t have.. We all waste money on things we don’t need but we buy them to keep up with the Joneses. We like to show off. Not all poor people are losers and school drop outs, many are very hard workers doing the best they can do and we haven’t the right to judge them. If CEO’s weren’t so greedy they would pay their employees more so they can spend more, that’s what is wrong with the economy.

  • Dawn Dziuba

    Dr. Lawrence Lewis and Patty Suntrup were helping the tobacco companies on the tobacco side of litigation in the case of City of St. Louis v. American Tobacco. I brought this to the attention of HR and several decision makers back in July/August 2010. They, along with several other individuals, including Deanna Wendler Modde, Monica Allen, Lisa Nanstad, John Ursch, and Don Strom, all took actions to illegally suppress information that was legally required to be disclosed to the City of St. Louis in the City of St. Louis v. American Tobacco case. They did not want to pay damages to the plaintiffs in the City of St. Louis v. American Tobacco. This has had a negative impact on public health in St. Louis. It is possible to file a motion because they illegally suppressed information they were legally obligated to disclose. This could make a material difference over whether there is funding recovered to pay for patients that are served by public health clinics/hospitals in St. Louis. The case was estimated at $490 million dollars.
    Where would we be if those individuals had not illegally suppressed information they were legally obligated to disclose? If the City of St. Louis plaintiffs had recovered up to $490 million in dollars in funding, how would it have been used to serve patients? Would clinics have the funding they need? How does this impact the discussion? It is unfair for the tobacco interests to benefit and the clinics like ConnectCare and Smiley Urgent Care Center which serve vulnerable populations to have funding shortages. If there was $490 million dollars at stake, use it to provide for vulnerable populations. The distribution of funding DOES made a difference. Everything should be out in the open.
    I do not trust the people that helped the tobacco companies nor the individuals who illegally suppress information that was legally obligated to be disclosed. Individuals who have taken actions to illegally suppress information that was legally obligated to be disclosed include Dr. Lawrence Lewis, Patricia Suntrup, Lisa Nanstad, Deanna Wendler-Modde, Monica Allen, Jon Ursch, Don Strom, and several others. If I go to a clinic or a hospital I want to know that they are putting the best interests of the patient first. I want a guarantee they are tobacco-free in all aspects and that there are no so-called “secrets” nor surprises. Is there anywhere left to go?

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