US Senator Blunt softens stance on repealing health-care law after years of condemnation
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt for years wasn’t shy about his disdain for the Affordable Care Act, condemning it on the Senate floor, in town hall meetings and during interviews.
Then came Tuesday, when the Republican said fixing President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law doesn’t hinge on whether Congress takes action this week to do away with it entirely.
“Well, I think there’s a number of things that can be done without the repeal-and-replace legislation,” Blunt told reporters in during a conference call. “I am for the concept of ‘Let’s get moving here as quickly as we can,” but through administrative, not legislative, actions.
He did not, however, go so far as to take a position on the measure, for which House Republicans are trying to win support.
It’s been an uphill battle in Washington, though, as a few GOP colleagues, including U.S. Rep. Billy Long from Springfield, have turned against the sweeping proposal due to a provision that would allow governors to waive protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Blunt’s suggestion is to let federal health officials use existing ACA provisions to give states more flexibility in providing cheaper insurance and to make it easier for workers to obtain health insurance through their jobs.
He also said Tuesday that he’s concerned about the ACA’s viability due to many rural Missouri residents having only one insurance option on the online marketplace, making it more expensive.
Blunt has been a vocal critic of the law since the majority-Democrat Congress passed it in 2010. But Blunt also has noted his support for certain provisions, such as allowing young adults up to the age of 26 to remain on their families’ health care plans.
Later Tuesday, Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill praised Blunt’s apparent softening of his earlier support for repeal. Both of them also believe that any Senate version of a repeal would need to be significantly different from what may pass in the House due to needed Democratic support.
Rep. Dean Plocher on statewide term limits — and the governor’s ethics agenda
On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum welcomes state Rep. Dean Plocher to the program for the first time.
The Des Peres Republican was elected in late 2015 to fill former House Speaker John Diehl’s unexpired term. The 89th House District includes parts of Town & Country, Huntleigh, Des Peres and Country Life Acres.
Plocher, who operates his own law firm in Clayton, had planned to run for the seat after Diehl was forced to leave office due to term limits. But Diehl resigned earlier than expected in 2015 amid a scandal involving a 19-year-old intern.
Ultimately, Plocher beat out two other candidates to secure the Republican nomination in the special election. He defeated Democratic Al Gerber by 20 percentage points, and was re-elected last year by a wide margin.
Plocher serves as the vice chairman of the House Utilities Committee, and is on the the House Economic Development Committee and the Special Committee on Urban Issues.
The search is on for a new St. Louis police chief, and everybody has a wish list
For the first time in its history, the St. Louis Police Department can look beyond its ranks for a new chief, something that officers and community members say the city should take full advantage of.
“That person shouldn’t have any connection to the department,” according to Sgt. Heather Taylor, the president of the Ethical Society of Police, which represents officers of color.
But the city will have competition, as St. Louis is one of eight major police departments, including Kansas City, currently searching for a new chief.
There’s no timetable for when the city will replace Chief Sam Dotson, who retired April 19, the day after Mayor Lyda Krewson was sworn in. Krewson and other city officials are in the process of drafting a job description for the position.
Community involvement should be key in the process, said John Chasnoff, the longtime co-chairman of the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression. He said residents should be allowed to help write the job description and play a role in the interview process.
“If we’re really serious about a community-oriented, problem-solving police department, we need to start that with a community-oriented selection process,” he said.
Communities also are at the center of the expectations of Alderman Brandon Bosley, D-3rd Ward.
“He has to be compassionate, and passionate about helping communities do better, and not just do everything he can to lock up those individuals who are wreaking havoc or being detrimental to the community,” Bosley said.
And new alderman John Collins-Muhammad, D-21st Ward, is looking for someone with a “diverse background.”
“We need someone who understands how to effectively police constituents and citizens, and not just deal with tactics that do not work,” he said.