BACKGROUND: As noted earlier, Gov. Matt Blunt occasionally held some unusual press conferences. And even though his pardoning of Gobbles probably stood out the most, his visit to a south Columbia Jiffy Lube wasn't far behind.
"You may wonder why we’re at a Jiffy Lube to talk about health care. Well, I think it makes some sense," Blunt said, as two state senator stood behind him.
Blunt linked the oil change giant with electronic health records. If you pull a car into a Jiffy Lube, that business going to know your oil change history. Blunt noted that it would be helpful if doctors had quick access to medical information.
The event really wasn't as strange or as memorable as some others on this list. But it was humorous moment in a long-running debate over how to structure the state's Medicaid system.
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: Since the beginning of the decade, lawmakers have been battling over the state's health care program for the poor. In 2007, Republicans tried to overhaul the program, even going so far as to give the system a new name - Mo HealthNet. The idea was to implement preventative care into the system as a way of cutting down future health care costs.
I used this preventative care theme as a jumping off point for understanding the current federal health care debate. The dominant argument is whether or not to exert government force to provide health insurance to the uninsured. After all, forcing the uninsured to receive uncompensated care in emergency rooms eventually costs taxpayers money. But there's a more difficult question about whether there will be enough medical professionals to treat people empowered through this plan. If previously uninsured Americans use this empowerment to receive preventative care, are there really enough medical professional to handle this influx? Will the overall quality of care decline if a limited amount of doctors have to take care of significantly more people? I've asked lots of people - Democrats and Republicans - those types of questions. I haven't received too many definitive solutions, probably because it's a very difficult problem.
Mo HealthNet didn't satisfy everyone. Democrats wanted to focus on rescinding cuts made to the program in 2005. But some of the goals of the reconfiguration seemed to foreshadow future conflicts over health care.
FUN FACT: As a resident of southern Columbia, I can honestly say that I used that Jiffy Lube to get oil changes for my Honda Accord. I also utilized the adjacent car wash often.