Kudos to those Democratic Missouri lawmakers who still have not given up on trying to stop Gov. Eric Greitens from single-handedly taking in-home and nursing care away from 8,300 seniors and disabled people.
On Monday, several legislators asked the state to drop plans to request a federal waiver from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that would allow them to cut the program.
That’s not just compassionate, but smart, because without that in-home care, older Missourians on Medicaid and Medicare will end up spending more on far more expensive hospital stays.
Republican lawmakers clearly understood that in May, when they and their Democratic colleagues passed a bill that would have restored the program and funded it with unspent money in dedicated funds.
But last month, Greitens vetoed a bill that would have avoided those cuts. “We were sent here to make tough decisions,” he said at the time. “That’s what we’re doing. Politicians were trying to spend money we don’t have. So we’re left with two choices: raise taxes or cut spending. I will not raise your taxes.”
On Monday, some Democrats urged their colleagues to try to override that veto in September.
Meanwhile, given that Greitens also cut the reimbursement rate for Medicaid providers by 1.5 percent and said he won’t fork over $60 million that had been earmarked for the Department of Social Services, which oversees Medicaid, we have to ask why his budget solutions must be at the expense of the old and the sick and the poor.
Some 89,000 Missourians depend on Medicaid to pay for their care in nursing homes, and according to the Missouri Foundation for Health, Medicaid pays for 63 percent of all nursing home care in the state.
Greitens justified the veto by claiming that restoring the in-home nursing program “would put funds for abused children, injured workers and first responders in jeopardy.” But that would have been his call, too, since the bill Republicans and Democrats had agreed on required no such thing.