Marilyn Andersen raises angora goats and llamas for wool that she spins and weaves in her studio at Two Cedars Weaving in Story City, Iowa. She also has a part-time job coordinating distribution of local produce through a service called Farm to Folk. Neither effort comes with health insurance.
Barring a congressional miracle, Medicare payments to health care providers throughout the country will see a 2 percent reduction come Friday. That amount might not sound like much, but rural hospitals and their surrounding communities are the ones that would feel most of the pinch.
Efforts to establish a prescription drug monitoring program in Missouri are making a comeback this year. But there’s a twist: the main opponent of establishing such a program is now sponsoring legislation.
“I think it’s a severe intrusion of our liberty to have the government create a database that is accessible by thousands of people, if not tens of thousands of people, who would then have access to sensitive private information,” said Republican Senator Rob Schaaf, a physician in St. Joseph, Mo.
Healthcare reform was on the agenda in Gov. Jay Nixon’s 2013 state of the state address as he called upon lawmakers to broaden Medicaid so more Missourians would have access to healthcare. Nixon’s proposed budget includes an expansion of Missouri’s Medicaid program. Estimates are the plan would add nearly 260,000 lower-income adults to the healthcare program through the use of $908 million in federal funds, money that would be received by opting in to the federal Medicaid expansion. In his recent state of the state address, Nixon argued the expansion would create jobs for many Missourians and would bring increased revenue to the state.
More than sixty percent of Missouri voters favored Proposition E. The resulting enacted law restricts state employees from helping the federal government create a health exchange in the state, a required element of Affordable Care Act.
A federal court is scheduled today, to take up one Missouri businessesman’s challenge to a recently enacted provision of the federal health law. The provision requires that most employee-health plans include no-cost coverage of contraceptives. But the rule has faced backlash from several businesses and lawmakers around the region.
Missourians are already seeing changes in healthcare coverage since the Affordable Care Act was first implemented. According to Ryan Barker, Director of Health Policy for the Missouri Foundation for Health, changes already affecting Missourians include provisions allowing young people to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until the age of 26, Medicare coverage of preventative services without a co-pay, and a new rule that requires some insurance providers to partially reimburse customers if they don’t limit overhead and administrative costs.