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Missouri State Senator Gives Up Health Insurance to Protest Medicaid Cuts -- I'm Not Kidding!

Missouri State Senator Gives Up Health Insurance to Protest Medicaid Cuts -- I'm Not Kidding!

May 8, 2005

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A state senator from Independence is going to extremes to protect Missouri's new budget, KMBC's Bev Chapman reported Friday. Sen. Victor Callahan announced he is giving up his state-funded health insurance to draw attention to the thousands of people without medical insurance. The Democratic senator said that lawmakers shouldn't ignore the growing number of uninsured people. "I'm doing this today because I don't want to be a hypocrite. I intend to join the other 74,000 Missourians without health care," Callahan said. Changes in Medicaid eligibility in this year's budget will eliminate between 70,000 and 100,000 people from the program. Callahan, who represents Independence and Raytown, estimates more than 30,000 people in his district will be affected by Medicaid cutbacks. A spokesman for Gov. Matt Blunt's office said the program has grown beyond the taxpayers' ability to support it. He said the program provides coverage for one out of five Missourians. Callahan wants the governor to join him in quitting health care. "I'm calling on Gov. (Matt) Blunt today to lead by example -- to join with me coming off state health care until we resolve the issue," Callahan said. In addition to giving up his state coverage, Callahan has also stopped receiving benefits from his regular employer. Check it out here if you don't believe me.