Our Call: Will of the people or not, Koenig says just get a job

Editorial

Our+Call%3A+Will+of+the+people+or+not%2C+Koenig+says+just+get+a+job

As Ronald Reagan once said, “There you go again.”

The Republicans in our esteemed Missouri Legislature are at it again, disregarding the will of the people who voted for Medicaid expansion in the August election. Funding for the mostly federally funded expansion was dealt a final blow by the Senate April 28. The next step is likely to be decided by the courts.

South County’s two senators Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, and Doug Beck, D-Affton, have diametrically opposed views on this issue.

Beck supports Medicaid expansion, while Koenig had some unsolicited advice from the Senate floor for voters who wanted to expand Medicaid: These people should just get a job.

Specifically, he said, “I’m sorry, if you’re a healthy adult, you need to get a job.”

What a disappointing use of the English language for a state senator.

Koenig has been in Jefferson City too long to make such oversimplified statements, which may feel good for a partisan soundbite but have little to no facts to back them.

Here are the facts: 64 percent of Missouri Medicaid recipients are children who legally can’t hold a fulltime job — although maybe that will be Koenig’s next workforce development idea. A further 16 percent

of recipients are disabled (the state says they have a “physical or mental impairment or disease”), and another 8 percent are over age 65.

Only 12 percent of state Medicaid rolls are working-age adults who, by Koenig’s standards, should simply get a job. Only 10 percent of Medicaid money is spent on those adults, while 46 percent of Medicaid in Missouri is spent on the disabled population, 28 percent on children and 17 percent on the older adults.

Koenig, 38, has held a taxpayer- funded legislator job since 2009, but by his own admission, during those 12 years he has apparently failed to make Medicaid more efficient despite a GOP supermajority.

That’s on him.

We think that Koenig should take his own advice and “get a job,” or at least do the one he was elected to do in the first place. He could start by actually representing the will of the people and the Missouri Constitution, as he swore in his oath of office.