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TRUTH ALERT: Rowden ad hits Baker on work record

Ad: Friends of Caleb Rowden
A political ad from State Sen. Calerb Rowden attacks his opponent, Judy Baker (pictured right) over her health care work.


A political ad from the campaign of state Sen. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) attacks his Democratic opponent on her work in the health care field.

Rowden is running against Judy Baker for the state Senate District 19, which covers Boone and Cooper counties. An ABC 17 News Truth Alert looked into an attack ad from Baker against Rowden last week.

Ad: "Even fellow Democrat Claire McCaskill said Judy Baker's bad management practices cost taxpayers almost 2 million dollars."

Then-state auditor Claire McCaskill released a review of the University of Missouri Health System's billing practices in 2002. That audit said the hospital system lost nearly $9 million between 1999 and 2001 from writing off charges that its billing provider sent too late. That included nearly $2 million from University Physicians, a doctor group at the system.

Baker served as interim executive director of University Physicians in 2001.

It's not the first time the audit has been used against Baker in a campaign. Blaine Luetkemeyer brought up the audit in their 2008 race for U.S. House of Representatives. McCaskill defended Baker on the campaign trail, saying Baker "had nothing to do with those [billing] systems being set up at the hospital." She said Baker was brought in to fix the problems the audit found.

Ad: "Judy Baker personally profited implementing Obamacare,..."

It was Baker's job to implement the Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare, in her role as regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Baker made $113,735 in fiscal year 2010 and $117,527 in fiscal year 2011.

Ad: "...while Missourians saw access to health care decrease..."

This statement is based on a guess that ABC 17 News covered in a previous Truth Alert.

The ad points to a 2019 study from Navigant Consulting which guesses that 37 hospitals in Missouri could close if half of all employers chose to offer a public health care option allowed in the ACA. The study was funded by a group of business and health care interests opposed to expanding government health care.

Ad: "...and their premiums increase 80 percent."

The ad refers to a 2018 study from the Commonwealth Fund. The nationwide study shows that Missourian's "potential out-of-pocket costs" went up by 80 percent from 2008 to 2018. As for premiums, the study shows that employee's contributions to their health care premiums went up by 68 percent in that same time.

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Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.


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