Common Sense Medicine for politicians

Friday, July 25, 2014

By Richard Carpenter

There is a political struggle over medical treatment and government involvement in medicine that is affecting our little portion of the country. I have decided to write this op-ed, in an attempt to essay a "common sense" viewpoint. It will be for you the readers to decide if you agree or not with this opinion.

In series of recent political maneuvers and votes in Jefferson City, our State Legislature has voted to not participate in the Medicaid Expansion funding, being offered to States by the Federal Government.

I won't bore you with a list of facts and figures, but here are the basics as I know them. First, the Federal Government's expansion plan for Medicaid, would have given our State a huge chuck of money for medical services. I have heard the amount of this would exceed $2 billion over the next three years.

Many states have already voted to join the program, while Missouri and a few others have opted out. The main reasons that some of our legislators have voted this way include their belief, that after three years, the Federal Government would no longer want to pay this money, and Missouri would be left "holding the bag" so to speak.

Another reason our Legislature has voted the way it has was their dislike of the Affordable Care Act (more commonly known by the term Obamacare).

When it comes to taxes and government programs, there is an old saying: "no liberal has ever seen a tax or a government program they didn't like, and no conservative has ever see the same that they didn't detest and want to curtail.

Most likely, the best possible solution lies somewhere between these two "on the edge" positions. That's where most of the rest of us live our lives.

In recent articles in our paper, officials from several different medical businesses have expressed their fear, that the loss of this money could have dire consequences for the small rural medical facilities.

Here is my simple opinion. It seems to me, that by making a political point by not taking the money, we are punishing our local hospitals and other medical operations, long before our point is made to Washington!

I don't care if the Federal money runs out in three years. First of all, I would be surprised if that actually happened. We have been told for years that the government was going to go broke, but it keeps on going, just the same.

It is sort of like cutting off your nose to spite your face. By making a political point or statement, by refusing to take the money, the first people to be affected are the ones who live right here (you and me)!

You Legislators had best take notice regarding your voting records on these issues. The public has been a bit drowsy and unconcerned up to this point. When small towns begin to loose their hospitals because of your choices, I think you will find there is a "backlash" vote headed straight for you.

If you readers agree with me, you have a clear choice. There is an election coming in November. As a citizen it is your responsibility to know what the issues are, and how your leaders are voting on those issues. You also have the right to contact them with your opinions.

If our town and other small rural municipalities around the State loose their hospitals because of these current actions, we may all be the losers, regardless of which side of the argument or political spectrum you stand.

I'd rather have three years with the funds to keep our hospital open, and try to make some effective changes during that time. The other option doesn't seem like it has any answers except to just cut costs. How well do you think that's working? You have to judge for yourself. Do you care enough to voice some good old fashioned "common sense?"