A Peep Inside The Strange Minds Of Two Missouri Legislators

Jeffrey Messenger was elected in 2012 as a Republican in Missouri’s House of Representatives. He represents the 130th legislative district, about 50 miles east of Joplin. He lives in the town of Republic.

Thanks to his last campaign bio page, we learned that Messenger is a hard working guy with roots firmly planted in rural America. We also learned he owns a business that makes prosthetic limbs for those unfortunate folks who need them, and we found out he “is in the process of building another full time facility in Joplin, Missouri.” Good for him.

And we also learned that Messenger claimed his experience in the prosthetic limb business would somehow make him a better legislator:

Since being involved in Kessler Heasley Artificial Limb Co. Jeff has been able to increase his knowledge in the benefits as well as the pitfalls of Medicare, Medicaid, and Private Insurance, and understands the frustration for individuals when it comes to insurance coverage…

Jeff decided several years ago he wanted to get involved in politics. He feels he has the experience and the know how it will take in Jefferson City to get the job done.

Experience and know-how.  He can get the job done, he said. He “understands the frustration for individuals when it comes to insurance coverage,” he claimed.

Wednesday evening in Springfield, at a town hall with other Missouri legislators, Jeffrey Messenger, the man who understands people’s frustrations “when it comes to insurance coverage,” explained to those gathered why he is opposed to Missouri expanding insurance coverage under ObamaCare.

As reported by the Springfield News-Leader:

Messenger pointed out what he views as potential problems with expansion.

Messenger said that larger businesses will be penalized under the Affordable Care Act if they fail to provide health insurance to employees working 30 hours or more. To avoid the penalty, companies will cut employee hours down to under 30, he said.

These workers, because they work fewer hours and make less, will be more likely to qualify for an expanded Medicaid, and this will add an unanticipated strain to the system, Messenger said. He described it as a kind of loop.

“It just keeps growing and growing and growing,” Messenger said.

You get it? Businesses will screw their employees out of hours so they don’t have to provide them with health coverage, which will in turn make those employees candidates to get health insurance under Medicaid expansion, and therefore we shouldn’t expand Medicaid to help them. It’s all very simple, really. And very cruel.

Messenger not only “understands the frustration for individuals when it comes to insurance coverage,” he is willing to ignore that frustration, or really, to exacerbate it. Oh, by the way, Messenger’s campaign web page informs us that Jeff is “Pro-Life 100%.” Thank God.

As grievous as Messenger’s message to Missourians was during Wednesday night’s town hall, by far the dumbest and most offensive comment made about Medicaid expansion in Missouri was made by another Republican legislator, Lyndall Fraker, who represents folks east of Springfield and lives in Marshfield.lyndall fraker

But before we get to his dumb and offensive comment, Fraker’s campaign bio indicates that he proudly managed the Walmart store in Marshfield, which is interesting since Walmart is planning on taking cynical advantage of ObamaCare by excluding workers who work less than 30 hours a week from its health insurance plans.

Now, Fraker is not responsible for what Walmart honchos do, but he did say his Walmart experience made him realize “what a passion he had to serve others.” Goody, goody, now we’re ready for his comment on Medicaid expansion.

Here is the News-Leader’s account:

Fraker said it would be hard to roll back expansion once it’s happened.

“It’s hard to take candy away from a baby,” Fraker said. He used the metaphor of him and his wife buying a refrigerator. He said if his family couldn’t afford it, their approach would be to wait and see.

Candy from a baby. I can see where health insurance is like candy, can’t you? Sure it is. And people who need health insurance but can’t afford it are like babies. I can see that. And by God we can’t give those babies candy because it will be hard if we have to take it back. They’ll whine and cry and stuff.

And I can see where health insurance is like buying a new refrigerator, can’t you? Absolutely it is. If you can’t afford a new fridge, just wait and see what happens. And if you don’t have a fridge that works, you could store your food in an ice chest. Just don’t count on a Republican legislator to provide you with the ice. And if you don’t have a refrigerator and don’t have any ice, you can just stop eating. Eventually you won’t have to worry about the fridge or the ice.

The News-Leader reported that someone in the town hall “took offense to Fraker’s characterization, and he apologized.”

For what? Why did Lyndall Fraker apologize? For revealing how his mind works? How he really thinks about this issue?

We all should write him and thank him, and Jeff Messenger, for a moment of honesty. This is who these people are, my friends, this is who they are.

8 Comments

  1. What is so disgusting about these statements, and their cruelty, is that voters will forget the stated positions and reelect the legislators because they are Republican. The insanity coming from the Missouri state legislature and senate, much of it written by ALEC (see progressmissouri.org. Our own Bill Lant copied ALEC’s entire “right-to-work” proposal as an amendment to HB 34, an anti-prevailing wage bill by Casey Guersey), is protecting the wealthy (there is a great article on the Humphreys family financing the extreme right in Missouri, too, at progressmissouri.org) at the expense of the poor and middle class. The state is walking lock-step with the Paul Ryan budget and the beliefs of Billy Long and Roy Blunt. Such a disgusting bunch of . . . individuals.

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    • Thanks, Jim. I didn’t see that Progress Missouri report on the Humphreys. I have written about their big-time contributions before, and may do so again.

      Duane

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  2. RDG,

    I like to peruse this site to see what our elected poltroons are up to. If some of these yahoos go any further to the right they’ll dog paddle out of the political pond.

    http://www.issues2000.org/House/Billy_Long_Health_Care.htm

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    • Juan,

      The first line is so ridiculous:

      Billy believes that we must reform healthcare to put patients and doctors in charge of medical decisions. The current health care bill signed by the President takes us in the opposite direction toward a complete government takeover of healthcare.

      There is a better way to reform health care. Billy supports allowing small businesses to pool together to offer insurance. Eliminating the restrictions on selling insurance across state lines would further reduce costs as a result of increased competition.

      Yeah, that’ll fix it, Billy! Why didn’t Obama think of that!

      Jeezus,

      Duane

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  3. Michael D. Gaden, BSNE, MBA

     /  March 22, 2013

    I think there must be an “empathy gene” and the right-wing are right-wing because they don’t have it. If you give the least thought to the chain of events that follow rejection of government funding for medical care, you see that the ultimate cost is still born by the taxpayer in a very inefficient and uncaring way.

    What ever happened to logic and reason, not to mention caring for other human beings?

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  4. Jane Reaction

     /  March 22, 2013

    @Juan: Thanks for referring me to On The Issues. Jane likes to read about facts even if it is hard for a blonde.

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  5. ansonburlingame

     /  March 24, 2013

    Duane,

    I have been AWOL from public comments for about 10 days due to another set of (lousy) experiences with modern medicine, on the part of my wife and thus me. I will not belabor the issue with details. Just leave it at another $40,000 experience, a life threatening experience from which she is now recovering thanks by and large to modern pharmacology, anti-biotics.

    Her condition was however identical, medically, to one that I endured with my 14 year old son 35 years ago. Who got better and quicker care? My son, and there was no comparison in my view in the quality and timeliness of such care.

    We in America are in deep trouble with HC, no doubt about it. Forget costs for just a moment and tell me why better and quicker care for the exact same condition was rendered 35 years ago than today with all the technology and new drugs available?

    Then factor in the cost and the problem just goes out of sight!!! Modern medicine costs too much and is not as effective for “routine” (life threatening routine) issues as it was 35 years ago is my view on the matter.

    If America was forced to acutally pay for medical care through government by increased taxes or cuts to other programs demanded well I wonder how compassion would balance out. I wonder how voters would react to putting 300,000 more people on the Medicaid expense rolls along with the tax increases to do it.. In other words put “it” on a ballot, increase coverage AND raise state income taxes by……, and see how it gets voted upon?

    OK, to be more clear, I suggest you consider the consequences if you take you son today to the emergency room for appendicitis ( a ruptured appendix as it turns out) and consider the effectivess and timeliness of the care you would receive and the total cost as well at least as charged by the hospital.

    My wife arrive by ambulance at 5:30AM for such a condition and went under (a very expensive robotic) knife at !2:30 PM (7 hours). 35 years ago I took my son to the hospital with the same symptoms and he was under a real knife by a great surgeon in a podunk hospital in about 30 minutes.

    Then sit by the side of your son as he cries in agony for 6 hours before the surgeon ever even shows up to “thump his belly”!!! I can provide a host of reasons for the differences in care and timeliness of the care and NONE of it has to do with competence or compassion of providers. Instead Duane, those providers are literally submerged in bureaucracy, in my view. My wife’s surgeon spent at least 18 hours in surgery that same day, doing his best to relieve pain and suffering and providing the best care possible. Same applies to the hospital staff. They simply could not keep up with the overwhelming tide of demand.

    I wish I had a solution but I don’t. And for sure I don’t know of any politicians with a clue on the matter. And don’t any of you take a shot at my “free” care for my wife through Medicare and TriCare. At 3 AM the following day (from my wife’s 12:30 PM surgery) the same surgeon was performing the same operation on a young man with NO medical insurance. The point is NO ONE can pay for such service today on their own!!!!

    But if you raise taxes high enough to take care of all folks, well, see how that vote turns out???? Solution so far is borrow the money from ……..?

    Anson

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    • Anson,

      Hope your wife is feeling better by now.

      Your experience seems to indicate that the system we have now is failing and yet you hate ObamaCare, which is at least trying to improve things. I just don’t understand that, frankly.

      Republicans have no plan to fix the problem you illustrate, yet you support them with your votes for the most part. And, again, I don’t understand that.

      And the one plan Republicans did advance to help fix the problem was, uh, RomneyCare, which is the father of ObamaCare, and yet you vehemently oppose it. I don’t understand that, either.

      What I do understand is that one party is trying to repair our broken system and they are getting nothing but grief from the other party, a party that is fixated on killing the only reform game in town.

      Duane

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