The “Cardinal Way”: A model for MO legislature, and others, too

After the St. Louis Cardinals won the [2013] National League Championship Series, it was reported that a rookie player, Seth Maness, said, “It’s a team concept. … Putting the team first is expected of you.” I am optimistic that “the Cardinal Way” will be the attitude in our Legislature with regard to expanding/transforming our Missouri Medicaid program.

What is my basis for optimism?  This summer and fall, three interim committees composed of Republicans, Democrats and ordinary citizens met frequently and heard a wide range of testimony concerning Medicaid eligibility, transformation and reform.

The committee members heard from doctors, nurses, insurance executives, hospital administrators, lawyers and representatives from social service agencies. They listened to business owners, people who have been on Medicaid and those who have no insurance. They heard from the disabled and the able-bodied. Mental health professionals and law enforcement officers, including local sheriffs, described situations where the mentally ill are put in prison rather than receiving treatment. The committees were informed about problems with the Medicaid program and given suggestions about possible fixes.

These three committees didn’t leave anyone out. As the management team, they sought information from the veteran players but gave the rookies a chance, too. Everyone was given an opportunity to be heard. Now they have to consider next year. Whom will they keep and whom will they trade? What contracts will they offer?

There are 34 senators and 163 representatives in the Missouri Legislature who are major participants in our league. We say it is time to play the Cardinal Way; put the team first.  Reform Medicaid to resolve some of the issues the committee members heard about. Expand Medicaid to provide care for our uninsured, low income Missourians. The stakes are high. As many as 168,000 Missouri adults will remain without health insurance unless you act.  We are counting on you to bring home a winner!

Reprinted, with permission of the author,  from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch