The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has hired former U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond to help secure support from state lawmakers for a responsible approach to Medicaid expansion in Missouri.
“Republicans in the Missouri General Assembly are the ones that are the most hesitant about the expansion and there are few Republicans that are as respected as Sen. Bond,” said Dan Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO.
Sen. Bond is a well-known political name in Missouri, having served two terms as Missouri’s governor and four terms as a U.S. senator in Washington D.C. During that time, Bond has been an active advocate for critical social services. He has fought for funding for community health centers, expanding public housing and providing early childhood education.
Like the Missouri Chamber, Sen. Bond is not supportive of the Affordable Care Act in general.
“While I was and still am one of the loudest opponents of Obamacare, I’m getting involved in Medicaid reform now because if our State sits on the sidelines I’m concerned hospitals in rural and inner city Missouri won’t survive,” said Bond
When asked about his position on Medicaid, Mehan does not hesitate to express his dislike of the Affordable Care Act.
“We opposed Obamacare, and every day it seems like we see more and more problems with the law,” Mehan said. “But it is the law, it’s been upheld by the courts and it is not changing anytime soon. We need to make the most of the cards we’ve been dealt and do what we can to bring back to Missouri the millions of dollars our taxpayers are putting into it and use it as an opportunity to secure reforms to the system as well. Until the overall law is changed, that is the only fiscally responsible thing we can do.”
According to a new study by the Commonwealth Fund, Missouri stands to lose $2.2 billion a year in federal money by 2022 if the state chooses not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The annual losses would actually be higher during the first years of the expansion because the federal government would pay all of the costs for the first three years.