Jeanette Mott Oxford for State Representative 2010

Sunday, September 07, 2008

JMO4Rep Update - The Change We Need in November: Healthcare Edition

Friends, Allies, and Constituents:

I wonder if you have been as glued to the Democratic and Republican national conventions as I have been for the past two weeks. Perhaps not, since I am a bit of a "political junkie" as is a common occupational hazard of being a state legislator. It has certainly been two weeks of inspiration and aggravation, hope and disappointment (sometimes at the same convention).

As a person raised to be a Democrat by my parents, but also a critic of my party's failings over the years, it is good to see the diversity of the 2008 Democratic convention. Over half the delegates were women and about one-quarter were People of Color. (This compares to two out of three 2008 Republican delegates being male, less than two percent being African American, and less than five percent being Latina/o.) I am thankful to the many social justice advocates of all racial/ethnic heritages who have worked to reform the Democratic party over the years.

Today I especially salute Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegates who turned the 1964 convention upside down for the good of us all. By the way, some of my favorite "reporting" on the conventions came from Jon Stewart's The Daily Show. Jon and staff did an excellent job pointing out some of the blatant hypocrisy in arguments offered by pundits like Karl Rove and Pat Buchanan. See especially the September 3 episode at: (You may have to register at the site before viewing the video, but it's free.)

The Change We Need in the November Elections - Focus # 1: Healthcare

In coming weeks, I'll be sending you several updates about the November 4 elections and key issues Missouri voters face in that election. One of my own priorities is building a healthcare system that will mean "everybody in and nobody out." Here are the facts about healthcare in Missouri at present:

More Than 720,000 Missourians Have No Health Insurance. According to the most recent U.S. Census Current Population Survey the number of Missourians who lacked health insurance in 2007 was 729,000. [U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey 2007,]

150,000 Missouri Children Have No Health Insurance. According to the most recent U.S. Census Current Population Survey the number of Missouri children under the age of 18 who lacked health insurance in 2007 was 150,000. This is an increase of 23,000 Missouri children from the previous year according to the Census's 2006 data, which indicated 127,000 Missouri children lacked health insurance.
[U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey 2007,;
U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey 2006,]

Over 28,500 Children Lost S-CHIP Coverage After The 2005 Medicaid Cuts. In a report written by Joel Ferber about Children's Participation in S-CHIP, he writes, "Based on data from the Missouri Department of Social Services, participation in Missouri's SCHIP program declined from 92,053 children in September 2005 to 63,553 in July 2006 -- a decrease of 28,500 children." [Measuring The Decline In Children's Participation In The Missouri Medicaid Program: An Update, 9/2006; ]

Missouri Has Turned Down More Than $1.5 Billion In Federal Dollars Since Matt Blunt Slashed Medicaid. Between Fiscal Years 2006 and 2009, Missouri turned down $1.6 Billion in federal matching funds, which would have been received if Matt Blunt had not cut Medicaid in 2005. Estimates from the Department of Social Services show that in FY2009 alone, Missouri will be losing $431.2 million in federal matching dollars that it would receive had Matt Blunt not cut Medicaid. [Estimates from the Department of Social Services, SB 539 (2005) and HB 11 (2005) Budget Actions; Information provided is based on most recent estimates as of March 5, 2008]

Under Matt Blunt, The Number Of Uninsured Has Increased By 103,500. According to a report published by St. Louis University?s School of Public Health, "The number of uninsured in Missouri increased by over 103,500 in 2006 as compared to 2005, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau today. The Census Bureau data were collected in March 2007, but reflect health insurance coverage in 2006, so they are the first data to fully reflect the effects of statewide Medicaid cuts enacted in Missouri during 2005, and fully phased in by the fall of 2005.

Administrative estimates from the State of Missouri have shown that over 100,000 persons lost Medicaid eligibility during 2005, but until today it was not fully known how many persons were not able to obtain other insurance coverage." [Saint Louis University, Center for Health Policy Analysis, Policy Brief #1, 8/28/2007; ]

More People Are Uninsured In Missouri Than In Six Out Of The Eight States With Which We Share A Border. Missouri has more uninsured individuals than in six out of the eight states with which we share a border. Missouri had 772,000 uninsured according to the most recent census data, while all bordering states, with the exceptions of Illinois and Tennessee, had fewer than 700,000 uninsured. [US Census Bureau,, 8/28/2007]

Matt Blunt's Medicaid Plan Slashed Health Care For 400,000 Missourians, Including 100,000 Who Lost Their Coverage Completely. Matt Blunt's cuts to Medicaid cut care for 400,000 Missourians, including 100,000 who lost coverage completely. According to the Missouri Citizen Education Fund, "Senate Bill 539 cut about 100,000 Missourians off of Medicaid completely, while another 300,000 lost services. This bill narrowed income eligibility requirements, increased premiums for those who still
qualified, and cut out critical benefits such as dental coverage and wheelchair batteries. As noted above, the new 2006 data suggests that these Missourians who lost their coverage in 2005 are still uninsured in 2006." [Summary of Medicaid Cuts Adopted in the 2005 Legislative Session, 5/23/05, ; Missouri Citizen Education Fund, The State of Working Missouri 2007: Health Insecurity on the Rise, August 2007;;
Associated Press, 7/22/2008; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5/18/2008; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9/23/2007]

Premiums Increased For Missouri Families By $1,959 From 2004 To 2006. In Missouri, the average health care premium for a working family receiving employer-sponsored health care coverage increased by $1,959 from 2004 to 2006. In Missouri, the average health care premium for a family was $11,171 in 2006, while the average health care premium for a family was $9,212 in 2004. [Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Average total family premium in dollars) per enrolled employee at private-sector establishments that offer health insurance by firm size and State (Table
II.D.1), years 1996-2006: 2006 (July 2008). Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Insurance Component Tables. Generated using MEPSnet/IC, July 17, 2008]

Health Care Premiums Have Risen 78% Between 2001 and 2007 -- Far Outpacing Wage Growth. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, "Since 2001, premiums for family coverage have increased 78 percent, while wages have gone up 19 percent." [Kaiser Family Foundation,]

Missouri Ranks 37th In Overall Health Care Quality. According to the Springfield News-Leader, a study by the not-for-profit Commonwealth Fund foundation ranked Missouri 37th in the nation in terms of overall health quality. The News-Leader wrote, "The study, from the not-for-profit Commonwealth Fund foundation, an organization that regularly releases health care studies, ranks Missouri 37th in the nation in terms of overall health care quality. The Commonwealth Fund takes a big-picture view of fairly comparable statistics to determine a state's health. In
this study, it ranked 32 different indicators in five basic categories: access to care, quality of care, affordable hospital costs, equity and overall health of the population." [Springfield News-Leader, 6/25/2007; The Commonwealth Fund State Scorecards, ]

Number Of Uninsured Missourians "Skyrocketed" In 2006 To Three Times The National Rate. According to Matthew Franck of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "The number of Missourians who don't have health insurance skyrocketed at three times the national rate in 2006, according to census figures released Tuesday. Health experts say the jump offers evidence that many people cut from the state's Medicaid program two years ago have failed to find other medical coverage." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

The House Democratic Campaign Committee (HDCC) has released a video that illustrates some of the budget choices that Gov. Blunt and the GOP-led House of Representatives has made related to healthcare. You can view that video at:

While you're at You Tube, you may want to watch my friend Rep. Rachel Storch, HDCC chair, explaining what Missouri Democrats are doing to prepare to take back the majority in the November elections:

Campaign Finance Limits Lifted on August 28
Just days after the 14-year-old state law that limited individual campaign contributions was repealed on Aug. 28, massive donations were flowing to political candidates. Recent campaign finance reports due at the Missouri Ethics Commission reveal that U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, was the biggest beneficiary of no-limit fundraising as he collected more than $1.2 million in large donations ranging from $5,000 to $600,000 in the space of a few days. Attorney General Jay Nixon, the Democratic nominee for governor, picked up about
$400,000 in the same period but still held a significant overall fundraising lead over Hulshof since he has been raising funds for three years and Hulshof only became a candidate early this year when Gov. Blunt surprised the state by announcing that he would not seek re-election.

Missouri voters first adopted the donation limits in 1994. On the last day of the 2008 legislative session and with virtually no debate, Republican state lawmakers pushed through a bill repealing the limits, which had been set at $1,350 per donor to statewide candidates, $675 for Senate candidates and $325 for House candidates. I voted no on eliminating the voter-approved limits.

I am an advocate for campaign finance reform to take the power of money out of politics, such as HB 2312, the bill that Rep. Jason Holsman and I filed in 2008:

Your Invitation to Meet State Treasurer Candidate Clint Zweifel

One of the important statewide elections this year is the State Treasurer's race. Democrat Clint Zweifel faces Brad Lager for the Republicans. I have served with Clint in the MO House for four years, and he is one of our most impressive caucus members. He is intelligent, a skilled debater, a person of integrity, courage, and compassion, and a person with exciting public policy ideas that would help Missouri. He was a champion in the fight to prevent sale of the assets of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA), and he has been a voice for middle- and low-income families as a member of the Joint Committee on Tax Reform.

Since raising funds for elections is still a pressing need (until a Clean Elections financing system passes), I am co-hosting a fundraising party for Clint Zweifel on Tuesday, September 16, 2008, from 5:30-7 p.m. at the home of Jeffrey Fort, 5 Dromara Road. I hope you'll call me at 314-771-8882 for more details if you'd like to join me there. To read more about Clint or to donate online, go to:

Surrounding Our Schools with Care Update

The 2008 Kick-off for Year Two of Surrounding Our Schools with Care was held on August 18 to coincide with the first day of classes for St. Louis Public Schools. The program highlighted at this year's kick off was the "In It To Win It" Fresh Start program at Turner School, 2615 N. Billips which has helped over 300 dropouts re-engage with school and move toward graduation. Those joining me at the press conference included: Sen. Jeff Smith (D-4); Rep. Tom Villa (D-108); Rep. Robin Wright-Jones (D-63); Rep. Jamilah Nasheed (D-60); Rep.-Elect James Morris (D-58); Ald. Jeffrey Boyd (Ward 22); Ald. Dorothy Kirner (Ward 25); Ald. Sam Moore (Ward 4);
Committeewoman Nora "Tumaini" Neal (Ward 22); Sean Nichols, director on "In It To Win It" Fresh Start; ; Dr. John A. Wright, interim superintendent, and Ann Hamilton-Union of SLPS; "In It To Win It" Board members Julia C. Jordan, Allie C. Brown, and Gloria McQueen; and Christopher Simpson, owner of Raw Blend clothing store, a supporter of Turner School. If you'd like to receive a .JPG photograph and Word document copy of the press release for the event, simply e-mail me at
jmo4rep AT with your request.

59th District residents are encouraged to turn out to support the Roosevelt High School Rough Riders at home football games. The first one was Saturday, September 6th, 1:30 p.m. (Price is $4.00 at the gate at Wyoming & Gravois.) Wear a red shirt.

Other home games:

October 4 against Vashon
October 11 against Miller Career
October 18 against Webster Groves
October 25 against Chaminade

If you are interested in volunteering to assist with serving breakfast to the football players before any of the home games, email Jenni George at
georgejennifer AT, who is organizing that. This involves reporting to the school cafeteria at about 8:00 a.m. that morning and working until about 10:30. There is a professional cook doing the hard part. Helpers are just assisting with the set-up, serving and clean-up.

It was a real lift to my morning to participate in this in 2007, and I'll be back to help at least once this fall too.

The Special Administrative Board of the St. Louis Public Schools is inviting the public to meet the three finalists in the superintendent search. The public forum will be held on Tuesday, September 9, from 5:30 to 9:15 p.m., at Vashon High School, 3035 Cass Avenue. (I'll be in Jefferson City for Veto Session, but I hope you can attend!) From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., attendees will be able to meet the candidates as part of a reception. From 6:30 to 9:15 p.m., the candidates will present their
expectations for the district and respond to written questions from the audience.

Community Announcements

Now is the time to make your voice heard about proposed service cuts to MetroBus, MetroLink, and Metro Call-A-Ride. For the economic and ecological health of our region, we must have an efficient and effective public transportation system. Most who are trying to save public transportation seem to be arguing for a financial solution through an increase in sales tax. St. Louis area residents already have one of the highest sales tax burdens in the state, with sales tax being a regressive
funding mechanism that disproportionately falls on and harms those with lower incomes (often the same people who reply on public transit). We need federal, state, and local investment in public transportation, and the best funding mechanism in my opinion is progressive personal and corporate income tax reform to create systems that are fair, adequate, and sustainable. (I have sponsored and co-sponsored state bills to do this and welcome your inquiries about these.) To see a schedule of the
Metro Hearings, go to:

The Missouri Public Service Commission will hold 14 local public hearings in September to receive customer comment on an electric rate case filed by AmerenUE seeking to increase the company's electric service revenues by approximately $251 million. The schedule of the Ameren rate case hearing may be found at:

We need to focus more attention and investment in clean and renewable forms of energy. If you want to learn more, consider attending the a Clean Energy Forum on Renewable Energy & Saving Energy sponsored by the Eastern Missouri Group of the Sierra Club on Friday, September 19, 7-8:30 p.m. It's at the Wyoming Street Church Building, 3617 Wyoming, St. Louis, MO 63116. For more information, call 314-681-3394 or write: emg.sierraclub AT

Congratulations to Metropolitan Community Church of Greater St. Louis (MCCGSL) which is breaking ground on Sunday, September 7 at 1:30 p.m. on its new $1.3 million, 22,000 square-foot facility at 1919 S. Broadway in the historic Soulard Neighborhood. The renovation of what was once YouthBuild, will now house MCCGSL and the One St. Louis Resource Center. I'll be among several elected official attending the ceremony. Learn more at:

Congratulations to Messiah Lutheran Church at 2846 S. Grand which will celebrate its 100th anniversary on September 14. I will present a courtesy resolution on behalf of the Missouri House of Representatives at a 2:30 p.m. worship service and celebration.

I was so pleased to attend the opening reception of the new St. Louis Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Community Center at 625 N. Euclid, Suite 240, on August 29. What a great crowd! Thanks to Muriel (Blue) Jones and LaShana (Shen) Lewis as well as their Board for all the hard work on the Center. For more on the Center, see:

A series of "SAGE Cafe" events for LGBT older adults is being offered at the Center. The first is on September 20, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. (a come and go style event). Meet the SAGE staff, board members, enjoy refreshments and view "Project Visibility" a film to bring awareness regarding LGBT older adults. Please RSVP to 314-821-4845 or
swayland AT if you plan to attend. For more information, see:

The St. Louis Lead Prevention Coalition will hold a FREE 8-Hour Lead Safe Work Practices Training on Saturday, September 13 at Safety Technologies & Solutions located at 6520 Manchester (in the St. Louis Marketplace). The class is from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. The class is for volunteers who do home repair work or painting, landlords, homeowners, maintenance workers and anyone wanting to learn how to handle lead paint hazards in a safe manner. Please call Judy at 314-664-9922 to register.