Phyllis Melton has never thought of herself as much of a political person. However, when she heard the need for volunteers for the Citizens and Legislators Working Group on Medicaid Eligibility and Reform, she sent in her request to Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, R- Eureka.
It didn't take long for Jones to get back to her that he would be happy to have her on board.
"He liked the fact that I have sat on both sides of the fence on this matter," said the 64-year-old Rolla native. " I have worked in mental health most of my life and I became ill and am on Medicaid."
She has been to two of these committee meetings so far this summer. She is one of 36 citizens and 14 legislators from all over the state who sit on this interim group.
"The members of the working group represent a diverse mix of health care recipients, health care professionals, members of the business community and legislators," said Jones.
While she has a number of ideas for what needs to be done in the area of Medicaid she has yet to step up to the mic and give her thoughts to the committee. That might change, she says, tonight in the groups gathering in Kennett.
"I like listening to all the ideas," Melton said. "I have been taking lots of notes and look forward to sending in my ideas to our legislators as they formulate which way to go on this."
She added that she feels that this work is where she needs to be right now in her life.
"I am doing what I can to help my fellow man," Melton told the Daily News. "I am standing in for the person who doesn't know where to start on this issue....who would never attend a meeting or make a phone call."
According to Jones that is the way it should work.
"It is exciting to see Missourians become so engaged in this issue," he said. " It is through citizen involvement that we will see the new ideas and innovative solutions that will help us transform our Medicaid system."