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TRUTH ALERT: Judy Baker attacks Sen. Caleb Rowden on health care

caleb rowden truth alert
Ad: Baker for Missouri
An ad from the Judy Baker campaign attacks Caleb Rowden on campaign contributions and health care.


An ad from the Democratic challenger for the Missouri General Assembly's Senate District 19 goes after Sen. Caleb Rowden on health care.

Judy Baker is running against Rowden (R-Columbia) for the senate seat this November. Baker is a former health care executive, state representative and district chief for the federal Department of Health and Human Services. A ad from her campaign touts her accomplishments in those roles and attacks Rowden on some of his positions.

Baker and Rowden are running for Senate District 19. The district covers Boone and Cooper counties.

Ad: "I've spent my career solving health care problems, like reducing costs and improving services for families."

Baker has worked in different capacities in the health care industry and policy fields. She worked at University Physicians from 1998 to 2002, serving as the practice's interim director in 2001.

As state representative, Baker supported MORx, which provides some state payment for seniors' pharmacy payments.

Baker also touts her time as regional director at HHS covering Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. She helped with that agency's response to the 2011 Joplin tornado.

Ad: "But Caleb Rowden, he took over 3 million dollars in special interests like drug and insurance companies."

Baker's ad points to a campaign fundraising compilation from Follow the Money, which shows Rowden has collected $3.5 million in donations from various groups since he began running for public office. For the 2020 election, that includes $90,685 in "finance, insurance and real estate," including donations from UnitedHealth Group, Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas City.

Baker's page on Follow the Money shows her taking $1.3 million in her races. The page for "finance, insurance and real estate" shows just individual contributions rather than those from companies.

Ad: "So he opposed expanding Medicaid, and will let them deny you treatment for pre-existing conditions."

Rowden has opposed expanding Medicaid in Missouri to include more people under the federal poverty line. He has cited the cost to the state for doing so, which he fears will come at the expense of education.

"He has been working to try and find ways to bring costs down and increase coverage for Missourians in a more targeted manner to negate the slashing of Mizzou’s budget that could come from broad expansion," Rowden campaign manager Jonathan Ratliff said. "Given the people of Missouri voted to pass Medicaid Expansion earlier this year, Senator Rowden will use his considerable influence and position as Senate Majority Leader to stand in the way of inevitable attempts to take funds away from Mizzou to fund Medicaid Expansion in the coming years."

The ad does not cite anything to back up its claim that Rowden will "let them deny you treatment for pre-existing conditions." The ad's text, though, says "deny treatment due to pre-existing conditions," a reference to protections the Affordable Care Act provides in insurance coverage. The Missouri Attorney General's Office is part of a lawsuit seeking to overturn the ACA in court, which could undo those protections.

Rowden filed a bill last session that would preserve those protections should a court overturn the ACA. That bill, however, only keeps them in place "until such time as the general assembly specifically provides otherwise." The bill was referred to a committee in March, but did not make it any further.

Baker said Rowden's bill wasn't a serious attempt at protecting pre-existing conditions.

"With Ruth Bader Ginsburg's passing, the Affordable Care Act is at very serious risk of being overturned by the Supreme Court in just a few short months," Baker said. "Unlike sustaining the ACA, SB970 does not provide permanent protections for Missourians living with pre-existing conditions."

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Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors 6 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.. shows for ABC 17 News and reports on the investigative stories.


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