Friday, April 01, 2005

Culture of Life?

The Missouri House today adopted measures that would cut an estimated 96,000 people from Medicaid, apparently because the "Culture of Life" requires only life - not health. Anyone who makes over 23% of the federal poverty level would be cut from the program. For example, a single mother of two who makes over $308 a month would be dropped from the program, of course this is because Missouri and Govenor Blunt believe in the "Culture of Life". From the Post=Dispatch:

Meanwhile, the state would tighten eligibility. Income thresholds for low-income parents, the elderly and the disabled would be reduced to the minimum levels allowed under federal law.

Also, the state would no longer guarantee payment for adults who need services such as dental care, eyeglasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs and artificial limbs. Only children, pregnant women and the blind would automatically receive those services.

Because, of course Missouri Republicans and Govenor Blunt believe in the "Culture of Life" and apparently the "Culture of Life" doesn't require dental care, eyeglasses, wheelchairs, or artificial limbs.

More from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch :
Caseworker Mary Mullings of Maryville suggested that legislators require low-income parents to get jobs and pay premiums. "My mantra is to teach them personal responsibility," she said. "There's got to be some buy-in."

The hearing was carefully staged to highlight criticism of the Medicaid program and play down the emotional stories told by disabled people who could lose their health coverage.

Apparently, the "Culture of Life" doesn't require emotional stories, nor does it require free speech.

More from the Post-Dispatch:
Shawn Vickers, 33, of Ash Grove, was one of the few witnesses to put a face on the numbers. A hemophiliac, he said he was infected with HIV and hepatitis C as a child. His only income is a disability check of $1,100 a month. Medicaid pays $2,100 a month for his medicine.

Without the state program, "I will spiral into bad health and it will mean my imminent death," Vickers said flatly.

Rep. Brad Roark, R-Springfield, chairs the General Laws Committee that handled the bill. He set the rules that resulted in most opponents being silenced.

First, he gave the public the minimum 24 hours notice, making participation difficult for people who must travel from other parts of the state. Opponents who did rush to the capital had to wait for 90 minutes while the House debated an insurance bill.

After the hearing finally started Wednesday night, the Senate sponsor and the bill's supporters took up three hours. The first opponent spoke at 10:50 p.m. and Roark closed the hearing at 12:20 a.m., refusing to hear from 19 opponents who had signed up to speak. Only eight opponents got that chance.

When the hearing erupted in shouts, Roark threatened to have Capitol police clear the room. Though he promised to study any written testimony submitted, the committee immediately approved the bill. The party-line vote was 5-3.

Apparently, the "Culture of Life" doesn't actually require anyone to care about how our actions may effect those in imminent danger of dying, nor, at the risk of being repetitive does it require free speech. But, on a happier note, it does require us to call the police on people trying to invoke their constituitional rights to be heard. On an even more positive note, the "Culture of Life" doesn't require elected officials to actually represent the best interests of their people, the State they serve or the country.

For the record, here is Mr. Roark's contact info:

MO House of Representatives Home Rep. Brad Roark
Address: 201 West Capitol Avenue Address:
Room 402 PO Box 1914
Jefferson City MO 65101 Springfield MO 65801

Capitol Ph: 573-751-2948 Home Ph: 417-833-2224
Capitol Fax: 573-522-9264 Home Fax:

E-Mail: E-Mail:

Should you care to ask him why he doesn't believe in free speech or a true culture of life.

This, of course, brings me to my local school district. It is a small school district, doesn't have much money. If I really wanted to I could send my daughter to a different school district (because of No Child Left Behind). They have two propositions on the ballet, both asking for more money. There are an abundent amount of Vote NO signs around the neighborhood, because, you see, the "Culture of Life" doesn't require that the life we create be well educated or smart.