There was the official response to Governor Blunt’s State of the State address, then there’s the real response. Democrat Jay Nixon has sat down with the Missourinet to share his views about the governor’s speech.
The official response was recorded long before the governor outlined his proposals for the legislative session. It has to be recorded well ahead of time so that it can be distributed to the various media outlets carrying the State of the State address. Attorney General Jay Nixon, who wants Blunt’s job, tells the Missourinet he’s unimpressed with Blunt’s proposal to pump more money into MO HealthNet, his replacement for Medicaid and to create Insure Missouri to help more Missourians buy health insurance.
Nixon says Blunt should simply restore the Medicaid cuts he enacted in 2005,"The bottom line is, he should restore the cuts. And there’s plenty of money to do just that."
Nixon argues that once the Medicaid cuts are restored it will bring down health insurance rates for others. Nixon makes a second argument. He says Blunt has forfeited nearly a billion dollars in federal matching funds the past three years, because of the Medicaid cuts. A state’s contribution to Medicaid can draw down a certain amount of federal funding.
In an interesting twist to this year’s highly-charged political atmosphere, Governor Blunt’s office issued a news release on Nixon’s official response to the State of the State address; a response to the response, if you will. Nixon criticizes Blunt for using state taxpayer money to criticize him. Nixon points out his response came on behalf of Missouri Democrats and was paid for by the Democratic Party.
Democrats in general and Nixon in particular have harshly criticized Blunt for the Medicaid cuts. Will the governor’s race in 2008 hinge on health care?
"Health care is really a key," according to Nixon, "because Matt Blunt has done what no other governor in the country has done: slash health care, turn down federal dollars, and really not do anything to solve that problem."