The man who helped Governor Matt Blunt put together his proposed budget catches some heat for the proposed cuts in the Medicaid program. But Michael Keathley tells skeptics the State cannot afford to fully fund Medicaid and fully fund schools at the same time without a tax increase – and Blunt won’t support a tax increase. Critics of the Blunt plan say they don’t think the Governor has thought through his cuts. They say the Medicaid costs might be reduced, but other programs will see their costs increase as Medicaid recipients look for help through them.
Archives for January 2005
February is American Heart Month, and the State Health Department is putting its efforts, this year, into reaching out to Missourians who are considered especially vulnerable. The Department’s Linda Powell says the most vulnerable include diabetics because there is a strong link between diabetes and heart disease. Powell says people with diabetes can decrease their risk for heart disease and stroke by lowering their blood sugar, their blood pressure, and their cholesterol. They can also stay away from tobacco and eat healthy. Of course, that advice goes for all Missourians – diabetic or not.
A major issue the past few legislative sessions has resurfaced in the House, with the sponsor much more hopeful of it becoming law this year. Representative Richard Byrd of Kirkwood has introduced litigation reform, which he promotes as a way to bring down the insurance rates driving doctors out of Missouri. Byrd says his bill will keep lawsuits from being swept into St. Louis, which has given much more generous jury awards in civil cases and will cap non-economic damages at $250,000. Byrd claims the State has 263 fewer doctors this year than last, because of its lawsuit friendly environment. He says hundreds of other doctors have scaled back their practices to avoid being sued. Such measures won approval in the Republican-controlled Legislature in the past, but were vetoed by Governor Bob Holden, a Democrat. Governor Matt Blunt, a Republican, says he favors litigation reform.
Southwest Missouri State University is moving to lock up the name “Missouri State University” while it’s waiting for the Legislature to make the name official. SMS has filed trademark papers to register “Missouri State” but a school spokesman says there are no plans to use it until the Legislature makes the change. The University of Missouri in Columbia says that’s the historic name of MU, although the school used it informally for only a few years in the 20th century. Southwest has been trying to get the Legislature to change the name since 1988. It is Missouri’s second-largest university.
A workers’ compensation lawsuit has been filed because of the fatal plane crash near the Kirksville airport last year. Eleven passengers were killed. Two survived. Everset National Insurance Company, the workers’ comp insurance carrier for A.T. Still University of Kirksville, accuses Corporate Airlines of negligence and says it has to reimburse Everest for the workers’ comp and other payments it has made to two survivors and two passengers who died. The four were employees of the university. Two other lawsuits have been filed so far. The crash was the only fatal commercial airline crash in the country last year.
The Pulitzer Publishing Company has sold the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and 13 other daily newspapers to a bigger newspaper cpompany, Lee Enterprises. Pulitzer also publishes 65 weekly papers, shoppers, and other publications. The company is based in St. Louis, where Joseph Pulitzer founded it in 1878. Lee Enterprises is based in Iowa and has 44 dailies and 200 weeklies and special publications. It’s a billion-and-a-half dollar deal that creates the nation’s fourth largest publisher.
Fixing the school funding formula is a major issue this legislative session, one singled out for special mention by Governor Matt Blunt in his State of the State speech in which Blunt called on the legislature to address the problem of inequity among Missouri school districts. A change advocated by the Governor is to allow rich school districts to opt out of the formula. Senate Majority Floor Leader Charlie Shields of St. Joseph favors the proposal, saying there aren’t that many districts that would qualify. Shields also views favorably the other proposals offered by Blunt: distribute gambling revenue to school districts on a per-pupil basis and allow school districts to use sales or income taxes to fund operations, rather than the property tax.
A group of Missouri educators is spending a few days in Washington, D.C. to meet with colleagues from throughout the country and to talk to members of Missouri’s Congressional delegation. The trip to the Nation’s Capital is an annual event put together by the Missouri School Boards Association. MSBA General Counsel & Associate Executive Director Melissa Randol says the group will meet, today, with fellow educators to learn more about implementation of No Child Left Behind, IDEA – the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and more. Tomorrow, the Missourians will be on their own, meeting with Senators Bond and Talent and several members of the House from Missouri.
The SMS Lady Bears kept rolling along in the Missouri Valley Conference last night with a 96-55 road win over Wichita State. SMS was deadly from outside, hitting 15-of-19 three pointers. The Lady Bears are the second-best three point-shooting team in the nation, hitting just a fraction under 45 percent from behind the arc. Jenni Lingor led SMS with 26 points, Kari Koch had 24 and K.C. Cowgill added 17. The three players were a combined 12-of-12 on three-point attempts. The victory moves SMS up to 13-5 on the season and 8-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference—they’re tied for the conference lead with Creighton, which is also 8-1. Their only loss was to SMS.
St. Louis native Hale Irwin became the first player to ever win a men’s professional tour event five straight times yesterday, by taking the Turtle Bay Championship in Hawaii. Irwin shot a five-under 67 Sunday and finished at 16-under for the tournament. He beat second place finisher Dana Quigley by five strokes. It’s his 41st victory on the Champions tour, which was formerly called the Senior Tour. Kansas City native Tom Watson finished in third place, shooting 10-under for the tourney.