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Schaaf raises stakes in managed care fight

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – On a point of personal privilege, Sen. Rob Schaaf admonished the Senate, Gov. Eric Greitens and the House Budget Committee in his continued one-man struggle against the state’s managed care expansion plan.

For weeks, Schaaf has admonished the House’s budgeting process for the specifics of how managed care will be expanded, and in a 15-minute speech on the Senate floor, he did not mince words, accusing the upper chamber of being simply ready to go along with a plan he called unconstitutional.

The unconstitutionality, he believes, comes from the fact that the state will not provide appropriations for the managed care expansion until after May 1, when the expansion goes into effect.

“Are we all sheep?” he asked rhetorically. “That’s why I’m wearing my sheep tie today.”

He proceeded to point out that his tie did, in fact, have a sheep pattern on it.

The speech came just a day after he singularly removed every House bill off of the Senate consent calendar because House Speaker Todd Richardson did not assign Schaaf’s own version of the prescription drug monitoring act bill to the committee Schaaf requested. The move comes on the heels of House members calling Schaaf out on their own floor, further angering the Senator from Buchanan, who also called out select House members as “corrupt” or “incompetent.”

With an ever-closing window of time until session ends, Schaaf’s disruptive tactics to fight managed care could raise the question of whether or not more bills ever get through the body, including the budget bills required to reach the governor’s desk by May 5. A parallel, but equally strong, level of opposition weighed against Sen. Ed Emery’s SB 190 by Sen. Gary Romine, could also muck up the gears in the Senate. Democrats also look poised to filibuster a roughly $50 million cut to Missouri’s “circuit breaker” tax credit program which goes to help senior citizens and the disabled pay for housing and independent living.

In an inquiry later with Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, Schaaf placed most of the blame on Greitens, who he called “complicit” in managed care expansion.

“This is all on the governor to put 250,000 people illegally on managed care,” Schaaf said. “The governor is the only one who can stop this.”

He added later in an inquiry with Romine that he wondered why Greitens’ ethics legislation platform, like a revolving door ban and a lobbyist gift ban, had not made it through the Senate. He also poked at the governor’s alleged benefit from a “dark money” PAC in Jefferson City which can take unlimited contributions to push his agenda without disclosing their donors.

Rep. Shawn Rohads chimed in on Twitter to express his displeasure with Schaaf’s filibuster.

Schaaf ominously ended his initial speech channeling Rorschach, one of the antiheroes from the graphic novel and film Watchmen.

“I’m not locked in here with you,” he told the Senate. “You’re locked in here with me.”

At the time of publication, Schaaf was still accepting and leading inquiries from colleagues.