Medicaid Needs Transformation - The Missourian: Opinion

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Medicaid Needs Transformation

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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 5:00 pm

To The Editor:

The “Party of No.” This is the label that Democrats have chosen to frame the Republican Party as one which will not compromise to “better” the average American’s life. What the label fails to account for is that the Republican Party’s fabric is of the American people. It is true that the party as a whole has rejected the idea of forsaking the prosperity of future generations for the short-term, feel-good policies that the left advocates — never mind that government programs are always expensive and rarely fulfill their promises.

So are we the party of no? Or are we a party of folks from all walks of life who believe in freedom and opportunity and that the private sector — everyone else acting independently from the government — knows problems more intimately and therefore are better equipped to offer compassionate solutions. Well, I’ll tell you who we are. We are Rick Stream and Dwight Scharnhorst. We have titles which some use to identify us. Sometimes it’s “representative.” Sometimes it is “chairman.” But strip away these temporary titles and we are left with more important ones — ones that won’t fade: father and grandfather.

You see, we know of love and loss, trial and tribulation. One of us is the father of a daughter lost to bulimia just months after her high school graduation. He is also the father of a beautiful young man, Eric Stream, who has lived with Down syndrome all of his 24 years. The other is the grandfather of Bryce Scharnhorst, who passed away as a result of an epileptic seizure shortly after his grandfather was elected to the Missouri House. Bryce also suffered from autism — a disease we are still learning much about to this day.

You won’t find us supporting the governor’s ill-conceived and costly Medicaid expansion plan, however, because we know that Medicaid is broken. We know that people on it have worse health outcomes than even the uninsured and that doctors themselves are amongst the lead critics of this mismanaged system. You will find us supporting reform of the Medicaid system so it encourages smart health choices, expands access to doctors for patients, and reins in the amount the public has to finance the program (currently over 40 percent — and growing — of Missouri’s budget goes to Medicaid).

We champion our causes, but we champion them not from the perspective of the left. We champion free-market solutions and we understand why less government is good government and capitalism should be trusted, not despised. After all, capitalism is responsible for lifting more people out of poverty and increasing the average lifespan of the citizens in our country faster and better than anything in recorded history. The president and our governor conveniently ignore that fact in their speeches while crisscrossing the state and nation in their respective, multimillion dollar airplanes.

We Republicans are a diverse group coming from a wide variety of backgrounds. We’ve worked the land on farms, run businesses on Main Street, and helped educate young minds in classrooms. We’ve fought fires, criminals, and now we fight off poorly conceived liberal ideas. We know what frustrations you have. We’ve raised our children in public schools and special school districts. We file the same tax forms you do and wait in the same line at the DMV. And we won’t sell you more of a broken system that Gov. Nixon and President Obama are trying to force on you. Medicaid needs transformation, not costly expansion, and we’re up to that task.

/opinion

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