One doctor is challenging another for a Missouri House seat that represents part of northern Clay County.
The Republican incumbent from the 8th District, Jim Neely, is seeking a second term. His challenger is Democrat Ted Rights of Hamilton, Mo.
Although both know the health-care system, their perspectives perspectives, specifically on Medicaid expansion, vary dramatically.
Rights listed Medicaid expansion as one of his top motivators for running and a high priority.He wholeheartedly supports the expansion envisioned the federal Affordable Care Act.
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“Twenty percent of my patients had no health insurance and they were hard-working, but were in low-wage jobs that don’t provide health insurance,” he said. “It’s just one more example of the haves getting more and the have-nots getting less.”
Rights added that since the money for expansion is federally available, it was “absolutely foolish” for the Missouri legislature to turn it down.
Neely said it’s harder for him to practice medicine than it used to be because the bureaucracy is getting out of control.
“It’s worse now than it was four years ago,” he said. “There is too much government involved in our lives. We have less access to care today than we did five years ago. The whole process is more complicated.”
The doctors also came down on different sides of Missouri’s new 72-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions. It was passed over the governor’s veto.
Rights opposes the longer waiting period, saying it doesn’t prohibit abortions for the rich but poses a greater burden on the poor.
“Anybody who says this is fair — they’re absolutely wrong,” he said. “The woman who has four kids at home and is a single mom and is working a minimum wage job — she can’t afford a hotel for three days. It’s ridiculous.”
Neely’s thoughts are concise: He supports the law.
Neely said he questions how state government is being administered, financially. This idea influences his support of Missouri’s income tax cuts.
“The money is there. There’s plenty of money there. We’re just not spending it wisely,” Neely said. “If we can’t get a handle on handling money wisely then let citizens manage their own money.”
Rights agreed government is too intrusive in some areas, especially for local businesses.
“I do agree that there is too much paperwork and government regulation at local levels,” Rights said.
Rights, though, didn’t agree with the income tax cuts, saying they \favor the wealthy and could diminish revenue flowing to the schools.
“I think the legislature foolishly reduced income tax on the high earners,” he said. “It might not be too burdensome in a few school districts that are very privileged, but in many school districts that are poor income already, it’s just going to make it worse.”
Both candidates agree that voters should show ID at the polls.
Address: Hamilton, No
Occupation: Retired physician
Education: Masters in public health, Johns Hopkins University; medical degree, Wayne State University; bachelor’s in chemistry, Moravian College
Previous public experience: None
Website: None. Email email@example.com
REPUBLICANJames W. (Jim) Neely
Address: Cameron, Mo.
Education: Doctor of osteopathy, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences; bachelor’s degree in business administration, University of Missouri-Columbia
Prevous public experience: Missouri House, elected 2012; Cameron school board, 1996-2005