Gov. Jay Nixon today sent the following letter to Sen. Gary Romine and Rep. Jay Barnes.
Dear Senator Romine and Representative Barnes:
Two weeks ago, I invited you and your colleagues on the House and Senate Interim Committees on Medicaid Transformation and Reform to take part in a two-way discussion about one of the most important public policy issues facing our state: making our health care system more efficient, effective and responsive to the needs of Missourians. As I said in my invitation, I looked forward to this meeting as an opportunity to hear about your findings and to present my ideas for making progress in this area. Based on your agreement to participate, my office proceeded to finalize the details of the session including clearing the schedules of the cabinet members who would participate.
That is why I was disappointed to learn today that you had reneged on our agreement for a constructive dialogue on this matter. Given the assurances my office received in good faith from you on the form and content of the meeting, I can only conclude that this last-minute change of heart demonstrates that, as we saw last session, you and your leadership have chosen to give politics precedence over the substance of the discussion. And while I am always willing and eager to engage in a serious, thoughtful debate about Medicaid, in any setting, I am not interested in taking part in a political game at the expense of the Missourians we have sworn to serve.
The issue of strengthening and improving Medicaid touches the lives of millions of Missourians, so it is disheartening that once again, political posturing is relegating the real needs of real people to the sidelines. When it comes to an issue as fundamental as the physical and mental well-being of our constituents, people - not politics - need to come first.
Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon