Rep. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) and Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) heard from four supporters of Medicaid expansion at a legislative wrap-up session in Columbia Tuesday night. A little bit more than half of the one-hour meeting, hosted by the Boone County Pachyderms Club, was spent debating the expansion.
Missouri’s GOP super-majority blocked every Democratic attempt to increase Medicaid eligibility in the state, calling the program an expensive, yet broken system.
Supporters of the expansion said it would help low-income, working adults in Missouri who aren’t eligible for the program, but are too poor to afford their own insurance. Brian Smith of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center attended the meeting. He said when combined with cuts to Medicare provider reimbursements, the lack of Medicaid expansion would disproportionately hurt rural hospitals and might push them to close.
Both the Missouri House and Senate have instituted interim committees that would study ways to reform Medicaid. Rowden said he hopes to be involved in the discussion.
“I’ve set myself up well to be a part of the Medicaid expansion last year,” he said. “I think I’m in the committee. We’ll keep having the discussion, if there’s some way we can come to some sort of resolution next year, we may.”
Rowden also said he the Missouri House of Representative is likely to vote to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that would cut the personal income tax.
Schaefer said he doesn't know what the Senate plans to do about Nixon's veto. He said he's continuing his investigation into the Missouri's revenue department's division of Department of Motor Vehicles. The department was found sharing Missourians' private information with the the federal Department of Homeland Security.
In March, Schaefer filed a subpoena for all the documentation relating to the sharing. He said he and his staff have only gone through about half of the 50 Bankers Boxes full of documents the Department of Revenue handed over.