Assistants work on trying to fix a cow on show into a good photo position at the 'Schau der Besten' ('Exhibit of the Best') agricultural show in Verden,...
Carmen Jaspersen/EPA

Missouri tackles the Affordable Cow Act

Updated
You’ve heard of “Obamacare.” But how about “Obamacow”?
[Missouri state lawmakers] on Thursday sent a bill aimed at spurring growth in Missouri’s dairy industry to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk, one of the first bills to make it that far this session.
 
Touted by sponsor Rep. Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho, as the Dairy Revitalization Act, the measure earned a second nickname Thursday: “Obamacow.”
There’s a good reason for that. As the AP report explained, the main purpose of Missouri’s Dairy Revitalization Act is to “subsidize federal dairy insurance for up to 70 percent of farmers’ premium payments.”
 
It passed the state House with relative ease, 110 to 49, and fared even better in the state Senate, where the vote was 31 to 2. After clearing the Republican-led legislature, the bill heads to Gov. Jay Nixon (D), who’s expected to sign it into law.
 
And for dairy farmers in the state, it’s no doubt good news to hear that the cost of insuring their cows is about to improve. But state Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Kansas City Republican, questioned why the GOP-led legislature is eager to provide subsidies to insure cows, while those same Republicans remain fiercely opposed to providing subsidies to insure human families.
 
Or as state Rep. Jeremy LaFaver (D-Mo.) put it, under the “Affordable Cow Act,” insurance subsidies for cows are fine, but “not for people.”
 
Indeed, the timing of the “Obamacow” vote coincided with protests from Missouri citizens, urging GOP lawmakers to embrace Medicaid expansion, as most other states have already done. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported overnight:
Hundreds of people calling for Medicaid expansion encircled the Senate chamber Thursday, delaying the state’s upper chamber about an hour.
 
Just before senators began their last minutes of debate before the Legislative spring break begins, the Capitol’s third floor filled up with a sea of red-shirted Missourians calling for what Republican leaders have called a non-starter. 
 
Office doors of Republican lawmakers, normally open and inviting, were tightly shut as those rallying sang songs, chanted “this is what Democracy looks like” and held signs demanding the Legislature “have the debate.”
GOP lawmakers in the state, as expected, did not budge and have said they will not consider the policy that’s working well elsewhere.
 

Agriculture, Medicaid and Missouri

Missouri tackles the Affordable Cow Act

Updated