Letter to the Editor

Good reason for legislative reluctance

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

To the editor:

Gary Rust wrote recently that Missouri lawmakers have been slow in acting on recommendations put forth by the Missouri State Government Review Commission. He noted that 84 proposals had yet to be addressed by the legislature.

It is worth noting that one of the commission's proposals, No. 41 dealing with the state's independent living centers, was found to be loaded with inaccurate data. Research revealed that claims made by the commission relating to the cost of consumer-directed in-home services were grossly inaccurate. The presumed source of this data, the Department of Health and Senior Services, has denied it provided the data. Little wonder some lawmakers might be reluctant to rubber stamp any part of the commission's report without thorough research.

The environment in Jefferson City this year has changed greatly from that of last year when anything the governor proposed was arrogantly rammed through the General Assembly over the protests of knowledgeable experts. Case in point: Medicaid reform. A recent poll revealed that the vast majority of Missourians disagreed with the knife-wielding tactics of lawmakers last year, when thousands were dumped from Medicaid rolls or faced choosing between food and health care. Shamefully, some disabled people were even forced to consider ending marriages in order to keep medical coverage.

It comes as no surprise that some lawmakers are reluctant to endorse a flawed report submitted to a governor with a dismal 35 percent approval rating knowing they face a performance review by voters in the fall elections.