Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) has appointed a 50-member task force to study potential changes to state’s Medicaid program.
Jones pledged weeks ago that the group will include Missourians from diverse backgrounds. The task force includes 36 private citizens, most of whom are health care practitioners or hospital officials from all over the state. A few are from consumer advocacy groups. One person identified as a Medicaid recipient.
Rep. Noel Torpey (R-Independence) will chair the group, which also includes 14 legislative membres. He says the group will hold six public hearings throughout the state between July 10 and Aug. 14, to get input from the public on Medicaid reform.
“I’m eager to hear what Missourians have to say about Medicaid,” Torpey said. “Whether they think it’s good to reform, bad, or indifferent. I’m expecting some personal testimony, I would think, on how they’ve experienced it personally.”
The first meeting will tentatively be held on July 10 in Independence, near Kansas City. Torpey said he plans to have the next three meetings in the Springfield area, Columbia and St. Louis. The group is still scouting for locations in northern and southeast Missouri.
Its 50 members will be able to ask questions from persons giving testimonies at the meetings. Anyone can also submit written testimonies.
Torpey said he doesn't expect the private-citizen member of the group to attend and hear public testimonies at each meeting, but said he will make sure to get as much information as possible to every member.
After collecting the testimonies, Torpey said the working group will put together and present a report to a second House committee on Medicaid transformation. The deadline for that report is Sept. 1. That second committee, led by Rep. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City), will then draft a Medicaid-reform bill to introduce in Missouri’s next legislative session.
Missouri's Republican-led legislature rejected a plan earlier this year by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon to expand Medicaid eligibility as called for by the Affordable Care Act.