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Letter: State GOP legislators live in an alternate universe

Letter: State GOP legislators live in an alternate universe

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Pandemic redefines 'public' access to government meetings

FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, legislators filter into the chamber of the Missouri House of Representatives in the Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. An Associated Press survey of state legislatures found that most no longer allow people inside their chambers to observe, and some still do not allow people to testify remotely at committee hearings where legislation is shaped. (Julie Smith/The Jefferson City News-Tribune via AP, File)

Regarding "Missouri House approves budget without Medicaid expansion" (April 1): I am convinced that our legislators in Jefferson City are living in an alternate universe. In my universe, the pandemic has resulted in huge job losses and decreased hours for workers, mostly those with low-paying jobs. The food pantry where I help out has seen four times as many needy people since the pandemic began.

Lawmakers are moving legislation that would place additional requirements on those who receive food-stamp benefits while, at the same time, the House has refused to expand Medicaid despite the voters’ mandate. Many folks who have lost jobs also lost their health insurance. The Missouri budget is flush. Credible analyses show Missouri would save money if Medicaid is expanded.

But in the universe of Jefferson City, families are trying to game the system by getting food stamps and the health insurance that enables them to work and care for their children.

Here is what gaming the system looks like in my universe: Legislators overturning the will of the people who voted to regulate puppy mills, limit conceal and carry of firearms, raise the minimum wage, prohibit “right to work,” expand Medicaid and stop gerrymandering.

Ruth Ehresman • St. Louis 

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