December 21, 2014

Nixon highlights business community support for Medicaid Expansion in State of the State

Governor Jay Nixon has taken his case for Medicaid expansion to the GOP leadership in the legislature by highlighting support from business organizations.

Governor Jay Nixon delivers the 2013 State of the State address.  (Photo courtesy; UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Governor Jay Nixon delivers the 2013 State of the State address. (Photo courtesy; UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Nixon welcomed several of them during the State of the State Address.

“The Missouri Chamber of Commerce supports the Medicaid expansion, not because they’re big supporters of this president and his agenda but because it’s the smart thing to do.”

Nixon listed supporters including the chambers of commerce in Kansas City, Independence, Springfield, Lee’s Summit and St. Louis, the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, Kirksville Regional Economic Development, Inc. and Associated Industries of Missouri.

Nixon urged lawmakers to put the politics of healthcare aside, which drew laughter from the Republican side of the chamber.

In a pre-Address question-and-answer session with the media, Nixon says convincing Republican leadership is an ongoing education process that he thinks is making progress.

“We see a continuing, growing coalition of folks that understand that this is a right business decision to make. Missouri is paying $1.8 billion in taxes. Sending those to Washington and then standing here quietly and allowing those dollars to be spent in other states is not a good business decision.”

Republicans say one reason not to expand Medicaid is a lack of faith that Congress will keep its funding promises, that would make expansion cost-free to Missouri for three years. Nixon suggests including a provision to roll back expansion in that case.

House Speaker Tim Jones is skeptical.

“I’ve never seen a government program that’s increased go back the other way … it’s an entitlement, and entitlements are extremely difficult to ratchet back.”

Nixon’s budget proposal would use $46 million federal dollars from Medicaid expansion. He says proceeding with expansion would bring $5.7 billion to the state over the next three years and create 24,000 jobs in 2014.

Missouri House leader assesses the 2012 general election, Akin effect

The election last week left the leaders of the House and the Senate effectively the most powerful Republicans in the state. Their party lost all the statewide races except the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, but gained enough seats in the House that in both chambers the GOP could overturn a governor’s veto without a single Democrat vote.

House Speaker TIm Jones (R-Eureka)

House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) considers what his party must do it if wants to succeed in future elections. He says first, it must look closely at where it did and didn’t fare well in the 2012 cycle.

“I don’t think either party can say they’ve got control everywhere or their agenda is everywhere. The nation is truly a 50/50 nation and whoever has the best message on the margins is where they pick up. That being said, Republicans need to look at the places where they’ve had success and they need to incorporate that into a national message.”

Jones says when one looks at the election on a county-by-county basis, much of the nation broke down as it did in Missouri.

“There’s a supermajority swath of Republican voters throughout the middle … and most of the state, actually … and then you have in the inner urban core is where your blue areas are, and it’s very similar to the country as a whole.”

He points out, more races at the state government level went to the GOP.

“Republicans … have a majority of the governorships … in addition, more state legislatures than ever before are Republican. So it’s interesting to note that in the elections that are closest to the people: the legislatures, the governors, Republicans have the edge.”

Jones says the impact of Todd Akin on the Missouri electorate in the recently completed election cycle can not be understated. 

“We saw it in our polling … Missouri went overwhelmingly for Governor Romney, but then you saw a 10 point positive … over a 10 point positive for Governor Romney and then in many areas you saw a 10 point or more negative for Todd Akin. That is a 20 point plus swing. That is dramatic. You can not honestly look at that and say, ‘Oh, that’s just an accident,’ or ‘Oh, that doesn’t mean anything.’ It meant a great deal.”

He says of Akin’s comments that a woman’s body can shut down a pregnancy when she is raped, “If the comments hadn’t been made, if that had not been the focus of the election … which it really was, from beginning to end. You just kept hearing those comments being replayed both in campaign literature, driven heavily by the media … I think we would have had a very different election night here in Missouri. I think there would have been longer coattails and more of (the GOP’s) statewide contenders would have been successful.”

 

Missouri GOP delegation joins in nominating Romney (VIDEO)

The Missouri delegation delivered its vote in the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.: 45 votes from Missouri Republicans went to Mitt Romney, who sealed the party’s nomination with 2,061 total. Missouri GOP Chairman David Cole represented the state party. The Missouri delegation also cast three votes for Rick Santorum, who had released his delegates, and four for Ron Paul who finished with 190 total.