St. Louis Oracle

St. Louis-based political forecasting plus commentary on politics and events from a grassroots veteran with a mature, progressive anti-establishment perspective.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Blunt wins over key Democrats on Medicaid

Republican Gov. Matt Blunt’s plan to reform Medicaid, now dubbed MO HealthNet, passed the senate this week, 26-7, gaining support across partisan and racial lines.

St. Louis area supporters, besides Republicans Gibbons, Gross, Loudon and Rupp, included African American Sen. Rita Days (D, north county), Sen. Harry Kennedy (D, St. Louis City), Sen. Tim Green (D, Spanish Lake) and Sen. Ryan McKenna (D, Jeffco).

Until now, many presumed that likely Democratic guberatorial nominee Jay Nixon and other Democrats would make a big issue of the Medicaid-related actions of Blunt and the Republican legislature. These votes will make that tactic problematical.

The seven Democrats who stayed true to the game plan included Sens. Jeff Smith and Maida Coleman of St. Louis, progressive icon Joan Bray of University City and, ironically, conservative Democrat Frank Barnitz of rural Lake Spring. If Barnitz could stand up to the conservative tide, why couldn’t Days, Green, McKenna and the term-limited Kennedy?