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Webster-Kirkwood Times

February 14 - 20, 2014

Efforts Ongoing To Expand Medicaid In Show-Me-State
Former GOP governor Kit Bond enlisted to push for expansion
by Don Corrigan 
will get a hearing in the legislature,” said Kirkton. “I know some Republicans are already saying that Bond’s efforts will make no difference. I hope they reconsider and bring Missouri tax money back to our state.” Despite some initial resistance, GOP governors in Arizona, Florida, North Dakota, Michigan and Ohio are now expanding Medicaid in their states under ACA. “We do see more Republican governors and “Kit Bond is legislatures relenting on this and cooperating with a well respected program that will aid their and I hope that hospitals and health care he will get a facilities,” said Kirkton. “It’s hearing in the a little sad that Missouri residents are going to be legislature.” denied help for political reasons. I hope Kit Bond can change that.” - State Rep. Jeanne According to Missouri Kirkton Rep. Rick Stream, Webster Groves R-Kirkwood, Bond’s entry into the fracas over ACA at the state level is an exercise in futility. “To be honest, I don’t think it is going to make any difference,” said Stream. “I like Kit Bond and he was a great senator, but we’ve already looked at this issue in the House and Senate. Our Medicaid system is dysfunctional. It’s broken. It’s not working. “There is just a lot of money being wasted now,” stressed Stream. “Until we straighten it out, it should not have more money poured into it. People who receive Medicaid now tell me: ‘Don’t expand it, fix it.’” Stream said Bond had it right the first time when he voted against Obamacare and Medicaid expansion in 2010 in the U.S. Senate. He said Bond, the health industry and the state chamber of commerce will not make a difference in the legislature. “If we could come up with a purposeful plan that is pro-growth, that gets people off dependency, that is both transformational and reform-minded, then we might be able to pass something that included the Medicaid expansion,” Stream said. “I don’t see that happening in this session of the legislature,” Stream added. “We just have too many other issues we are dealing with now. And anything that happens on Medicaid expansion will have to come out of the state senate first.”

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who came to Kirkwood last year to enlist support for expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA), has gained an unexpected new ally: former governor and past U.S. Sen. Kit Bond. “Sen. Bond’s involvement really does prove that Medicaid expansion is a bipartisan measure,” said South County’s Glenn Koenen, who ran as a Democrat in an unsuccessful race for U.S. Congress against freshman Rep. Ann Wagner, R-2nd District. “Medicaid expansion really is a way to help working poor and working class families get the health care that they deserve,” he added. Koenen worked for 17 years as the director at Circle Of Concern food pantry in Valley Park. “The ACA is here,” noted Koenen. “It is a decent way to make medical care affordable. Expanding Medicaid will provide medical system access to thousands of our neighbors. When these families have coverage they can see doctors for routine, preventative care. This will save lives.” Bond, a Republican who stridently opposed the federal health care reform act when he was in the U.S. Senate, will likely spend more time lobbying his party colleagues in Jefferson City, than trying to garner support in locales such as Kirkwood. Explaining his about-face on ACA’s Medicaid expansion, Bond recently told the news media that Missouri cannot sit on the sidelines while other states take billions in federal tax dollars to aid their residents. He said up to 300,000 Missourians would receive medical attention under the program. Bond, whose firm has been enlisted to lobby for Medicaid expansion by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the state is missing out on thousands of new jobs under the plan. He also raised concerns about the loss of rural hospitals that are in need of health care dollars. Webster Groves state Rep. Jeanne Kirkton said legislators should think twice before shortchanging Missouri residents in an effort to stick a finger in the eye of President Barack Obama over ACA, sometimes referred to as Obamacare. “Kit Bond is well respected and I hope that he

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A Bikeable/Walkable Webster
from page 4A
• Establish a network of wayfinding signs to guide residents along safe routes for biking and walking. • Connect pedestrian and bike infrastructure into a safe and convenient pedestrian and bike network. • Provide safety education for road users of all ages and modes, such as through schools and adult bicycle education classes, as well as offering community walks and bike rides and walking and biking maps. Some area residents were quick to offer suggestions. Jim Zavist, of Fenton and a bicyclist, called the plan “a step in the right direction,” but advocated more biking route connections across Interstate 44 and more connections into communities adjacent to Webster Groves. Theresa Pawlicki of Webster Groves said she was excited about the plan, adding she moved to the city because so many areas are walkable. “But a lot of walkable areas aren’t connected in a way that’s easy to access or very obvious,” she said. Benjamin Stark, of Webster Groves, advocated better bike and pedestrian access to the local MetroLink station. “I’m very encouraged and pleased that people are looking at the system and opportunities to put especially biking trails in, and I’m glad to see Trailnet is working with various city groups,” said Larry Dusenberry of Webster Groves. However, Kevin King, of Webster Groves, said bike lanes may mean giving up some on-street parking areas, and “no one wants to give those areas up on residential or commercial streets.” Jim Utz, of Webster Groves and a bicyclist, said bike routes need better marking, as well as share the road signs. Mary Jo Wilmes, of Webster Groves, teaches at the College School and regularly bikes in the city with students. “I’m really excited they’re looking at marking bike lanes because, wherever you find those, you feel safer,” she said. Ted Weiss, of Webster Groves and a bicyclist, advocated better enforcement of laws on cyclists. “I’m in the minority of those on bikes – I stop at stop signs – but I think there’s a lot of resentment of bicyclists who don’t obey the rules of the road, and that affects safety for all of us,” he said. Jerry Baum, of Webster Groves, told Brown there’s no good north-south bike route connection in the city – for instance, high-traffic Laclede Station Road would be too dangerous for such a route while two-lane Edgar Road would be too narrow for such a route, he said.

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February 14 - 20, 2014

Bridal

Webster-Kirkwood Times

19-A

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