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The Lake News Online
  • Local lawmakers react to Nixon's State of the State

  • District 58 State Rep. David Wood said the governor had several good points in his speech, but was concerned about whether the state could manage the budget that Nixon proposed.
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  • District 58 State Rep. David Wood said the governor had several good points in his speech, but was concerned about whether the state could manage the budget that Nixon proposed.
    "His concentration on mental health is extremely necessary," Wood said. "But I don't know if we can go for the Medicaid expansion."
    In line with President Barack Obama's health care law, Nixon has included the proposal for the expansion of Medicaid in his budget. Under federal health care reform, the federal government would foot the bill for the expansion for the first three years with a reduction down to 90 percent by 2020.
    With the assumption of 100 percent coverage of costs from the federal government, the governor's proposed budget has taken the state's 40 percent match to fully fund Medicaid and spent it in several other areas.
    "The Medicaid expansion is not a guarantee yet, so the budget situation puts us in a difficult spot. We'll have to look to see how we can meet his budget - whether we do the expansion or not," Wood said. "The Republican response is clearly not in favor of expanding."
    Wood said there may be a possible substitute in the middle on the Medicaid issue, but that would likely still mean whittling down the proposed budget.
    "He has some very good ideas. I just don't know if we'll be able to pay for all of the budget," Wood said.
    Rep. Rocky Miller also said there were some parts of Nixon’s speech with which he was pleased.
    “It was an interesting speech,” Miller said. “I am happy to see additional monies for education, especially early childhood development and tourism in his proposed budget.”
    While Miller expressed interest in boosting funding for education, he also expressed concern on the expansion of Medicaid.
    “I know that money comes on the back of expanding an entitlement program, Medicaid. I don’t agree with the governor’s math when it comes to the amount of money the expansion of Medicaid will bring to the state or the amount of jobs he says it will create,” Miller said.
    “At what point do we say we will except no more money from a broke federal government and end the vicious cycle of dependency and debt,” he added.
    While Miller might not agree with all of the governor’s plans, he said he feels confident about the direction of the legislature.
    “I am confident that the legislature will come forward with a compromise that allows for the Medicaid program to be transformed and not just expanded,” Miller said.

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