Republicans in the Missouri General Assembly handed Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, a defeat on the Medicaid expansion issue. It not only was a defeat for the governor, but for the people. It also was a blow to Mercy Hospital Washington and to all hospitals in Missouri.

Of course, the people who would have been helped with their health conditions also were dealt a blow.

We are especially concerned about our local representatives in the Legislature, all Republicans, and their negative attitudes. Did they know what this was going to do to Mercy Hospital Washington? They were informed of the impact by personal visits by representatives of the hospital with our local House and Senate members. They still went along with the Republican Party in killing the legislation. Vote the party line is what they did regardless of what it is going to mean to hospitals, which already are providing millions and millions of dollars in charity care.

Who do these Republicans represent? Certainly it isn’t Mercy Hospital Washington and the people the hospital serves!

Their main motive was to slam ObamaCare. The Medicaid expansion program is part of that program. We don’t care much about ObamaCare, but it is the law of the land. There are elements of good in the plan, and the Medicaid provision is one of them. The rejection of Medicaid expansion by Missouri lawmakers is a $4 billion loss for the state.

At a recent meeting of the Community Ambassadors Committee here, Mercy officials explained the loss to Mercy Hospital Washington. For the period 2013 to 2019, the cuts to Mercy Hospital Washington will be $2.8 million from the Medicare sequestration program; an $11.4 million cut from ACA Medicare payments; and a $9.7 million cut from the ACA Medicaid DSH payments.

Our elected Republican House and Senate members need to be held accountable for their votes on this issue. Who do they represent? Their party, and not hospitals and people? Putting their party ahead of the people they represent always is reprehensible.