It's not uncommon to dislike what our elected representatives tell us, but it is pretty rare to have them tell us to move to a different state if we don't agree wit them.
That's what the 31st district's state senator Ed Emery suggested to a constituent who asked him about Medicaid expansion in Missouri, a topic that has become as partisan as you can get here in the Show-Me state. As such, Republican politicians like Emery are blunt about where they stand, evidenced by a letter he wrote to one of his constituents.
In that letter, which was posted on Twitter Monday morning by Sean Nicholson, the executive director of Progress Missouri, Emery writes to a woman named Debbie Cole, who asked about Medicaid expansion in Missouri.
After a bit of pleasantries, Emery says that Medicaid "does not deliver on its promises. The Oregon Medicaid experiment what common sense would conclude - neither access nor health outcomes are improved."
He continues in what sounds like the script for a campaign ad against Obamacre:
"Secondly, it has a significant negative impact on choice. Medicaid expansion represents a contraction of choice. The state, not the individual, decides what treatments can be provided and by whom. Individual liberty is important to me, and I understand my oath in office as a commitment to defend it."
After giving his philosophical opinion about the effects of Medicaid expansion, Emery suggests to Cole that other states might be better for what she is looking for.
"There are additional reasons why Medicaid expansion is wrong for Missouri that you may discover with further study. They will also become more obvious as those states who have taken that course will begin to experience the consequences. Nonetheless, an invaluable aspect of our federation of states is that each state is like a laboratory for government policies. We live in a nation and an era that facilitates physical moves between states. Individuals and families are free to consider moving to states with differing and even contrasting policies. That is the beauty of federalism."
So is the senator telling Cole to pack her bags if she wants health insurance?
"No, I'm not saying that at all," Emery tells Daily RFT. "I just don't like to give constituents an answer like 'I don't know' or 'I can't help you.' I try to make them understand the choices they have and let them know what their best options are."
He adds, "There are states that have expanded Medicaid and certainly if I wanted to live in a state that had Medicaid, I'd live there."
But Emery says that Cole's best bet would be to stay put.
"Her best option is to stay in Missouri where we do not have expanded Medicaid because in the long-run, it'll be a better option," he says.
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E-mail him at Ray.Downs@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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