The Buzz

TheChat: Rep. Sam Graves frets about the closing of rural hospitals

Here we go.

▪ “In the past two years, more rural hospitals have closed than in the previous 10 years combined.” — Missouri Rep. Sam Graves on a bill he’s introduced dubbed the “Save Rural Hospitals Act.”

Nearly 300 rural hospitals could be closed in the coming years, the northwest Missouri Republican said. His law would bolster them by eliminating the Medicare Sequester for rural hospitals and providing a permanent extension of the rural ambulance and super-rural ambulance payments. There’s another answer, and that’s approving the Affordable Care Act in Missouri, a move Republicans still seem unlikely to embrace.

▪ “I actually think I'm a pretty good president. I think if I ran, I could win. But I can't.” — President Barack Obama during a speech in Ethiopia Tuesday.

This statement will send Republicans through the roof. It also reveals some of the president’s well-stocked supply of self-confidence. This is the new Obama speaking here, the one who feels more emboldened to speak his mind as his second term winds down.

▪ I’ll tell you some Democrats are worried.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, on Jon Stewart stepping down from the “Daily Show.”

McCaskill and other party members fret that Democrats are losing a key ally heading into the 2016 elections. The senator said Stewart has “done a great thing for us reminding young people why the Republican Party is out of step.” (link via

▪ “The national outrage should be 500 times more than it is, but in Missouri, the outrage is unbelievable.” — Missouri state Sen. Mike Kehoe, a Jefferson City Republican, on the controversy over Planned Parenthood selling fetal tissue for profit.

The state Senate investigation looking into this is off and running. Planned Parenthood officials have said the organization did not participate in a fetal tissue donation program and that the probe is politically motivated.

▪ “If at any point in time I fell short of your expectations, I am sorry.” — Kansas House Democratic leader Tom Burroughs of Kansas City, Kan., in a letter to his colleagues seeking feedback on his performance.

Some Democrats wanted Burroughs to be more aggressive in confronting Republicans. Burroughs called the session the most contentious of his 19 years at the Capitol.