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Senator McCaskill's MOLeg smackdown

Senator McCaskill was on Political Speaking last week, the great podcast put together by KWMU's Chris McDaniel and the Beacon's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies. She had some choice words about the Missouri legislature's failure to expand Medicaid and its obsession with conspiracy theories. Check out these highlights. 

Q: How confident are you, or how pessimistic are you, the legislature will expand Medicaid next year?

CMC: "The Missouri legislature never ceases to surprise me...

It's the last week of session and in the good old days in the Missouri legislature when you went to meetings it would be all about education and transportation. If I was going to look at the major responsibilities of the state legislature, besides spending federal money, which is a huge part of their budget, that's what people don't realize. A huge chunk of what Missouri legislature spends to balance their budget is in fact federal dollars coming from Washington. But they don't really talk that much about- in fact a colleague of mine was saying he was at a republican meeting and it went on for three hours and no one ever mentioned the word education or transportation in three hours.

"It was all about second amendment, it was all about Obamacare, it was all about, you know, the UN and sovereign poverty rights and all of this stuff."

The idea that they are taking Missouri tax dollars and giving it to other states doesn't make sense to me. The idea that they are going to have this kind of drag on our economy by closing these rural hospitals- that will eventually have to close if they don't expand Medicaid. It's just a head scratcher for me. I've talked to one republican who completely gets it. And I said to him why don't you just call it the, "we hate Obamacare Medicaid expansion." And then you will be able to solve your political problem but do the right thing for the people of Missouri in terms of policy.

Q: It doesn't seem like you're very optimistic that will happen.

CMC: "Well I watch John Lamping on CBS evening news...

and here's a woman working jobs- three jobs she's working- $11 an hour and she makes too little money to shop on the exchanges because she was going to be part of the Medicaid expansion. She's not sitting around twiddling her thumbs. These are the working poor…by the way if you look at the map that was in the Post-Dispatch, guess where per capita the highest incident of these people are?

It's rural Missouri. It's not Kansas City or St. Louis. It's rural Missouri. They have in their heads these horrible stereotypes, big cities sponging off the government. With all due respect, most of the working poor that are hurt on this, per capita, by percentage, are in red Missouri not in blue Missouri. So I'm hopeful that they’ll come to their senses but it’s terribly painful to watch because we get more money from the federal government that we pay into the federal government. If they do this that will flip. We will get less money from the federal government.

On the makeup of the Missouri legislature:

CMC: "We are a moderate state, we are not a crazy state, we are a moderate state and I don't think the leadership of that legislature reflects that. I don't think their legislative agenda reflects that."

@ProgressMO

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