medicaid

Nurse Catherine “Bizz” Grimes moves like her name sounds: at a frenetic pace. She darts across the hall from the prenatal diagnosis clinic at Indiana University Health University Hospital in Indianapolis, sits down at her cubicle, puts on her headset over curly white blonde hair and starts dialing.

For the hundreds of rural hospitals struggling to stay in business, health policy decisions made in Washington D.C. this summer could make survival a lot tougher.

images_of_money / flickr

Roughly 240,000 more Missouri Medicaid recipients are being switched to a system under which private companies oversee patient care.

The system, called managed care, will be expanded statewide Monday. About 500,000 Missourians in 54 counties along I-70 already had health care under that model.

The rest received care under a fee-for-service model. Under that system, physicians are reimbursed as patients are treated.

Missouri seniors, the blind and people with disabilities on Medicaid will not be impacted by the change.

Six years ago, 53-year-old Corla Morgan noticed blisters forming on her neck and back.

“I couldn’t sleep because when I took my shirt off, if my shirt touched my skin, the skin just peeled off,” Morgan says. “I was in really horrible pain.”

This story has been updated on March 7, 2017.

Missouri State Senator David Sater is looking for ways to reduce the amount of money his state spends on Medicaid, because, as he sees it, “the Medicaid program is eating out lunch right now.”

His idea? To voluntarily cap the amount of Medicaid funding coming from the federal government. 


Disability Services Organizations Brace for Cuts

Feb 14, 2017
Missouri Capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

Organizations that provide services to people with disabilities are bracing themselves for funding cuts under Gov. Eric Greiten’s proposed state budget.

A spokesman for Gov. Greitens recently said the budget would save $52 million by raising eligibility requirements for seniors and disabled people in in-home or nursing home care programs.

Cathy Brown is the director of Public Policy and Advocacy at ParaQuad, a non-profit agency that helps people with disabilities live independently through the Medicaid-funded Consumer Directed Services program.

jay nixon
File Photo / KBIA

 Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is blocking millions of dollars of planned Medicaid spending in a budget-balancing move near the end of his term.

The Democratic governor said Wednesday that he was restricting $51 million of budgeted spending, including nearly $43 million for the Medicaid health care program and nearly $9 million in bonding authority. In both cases, Nixon said the budgeted spending wasn't needed because of savings achieved by his administration.

He also cited declining corporate tax revenues as a reason for the cuts.

The trial of 23 people who protested Missouri’s failure to expand Medicaid began today in Jefferson City with jury selection.

The so-called Medicaid 23 defendants include many notable Kansas City clergy members, among them Sam Mann, Wallace Hartsfield and Vernon P. Howard Jr. They are accused of trespassing and obstructing government operations, both misdemeanors.

Indiana governor Mike Pence is in the spotlight this week as the man Donald Trump has chosen as his running mate. His decisions about health and healthcare in Indiana have drawn attention from within and outside the state. And his record could be important in November, because his running mate doesn’t have a legislative record at all.

missouri capitol
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

Missouri's governor has vetoed a measure that would have allowed the state's doctors to charge Medicaid patients fees for missing appointments without advance notice.

401 (K) 2013 / FLICKR

  A federal judge has blocked Kansas from cutting off Medicaid funding for two Planned Parenthood affiliates.

Update June 9 with signature: Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation on Thursday that could expand Medicaid eligibility for Missourians who are elderly or living with a disability.

For decades, Missourians who were elderly, blind or disabled could only have $1,000 or less in savings. The bill Nixon signed would gradually raise that asset limit to $5,000 for an unmarried person and $10,000 for a married couple.

On a rainy Tuesday morning in May, social worker Meghan Bragers drove up to Ferguson, Mo. to visit a 23-year-old expectant mother named Marie Anderson.

Anderson, who was 33 weeks pregnant at the time, was having a particularly difficult pregnancy.

“She’s been in a car accident, her car has been totaled, she’s having back issues, she’s having increased depressive symptoms,” Bragers said en route to the visit. “Things have gotten pretty difficult.”

Difficult, or as Anderson herself called it, “a tornado.”


missouri capitol
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

  JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Senators have voted to increase how much money aging, blind and disabled Missourians on Medicaid can keep in assets.

Senators passed the legislation 29-1 Tuesday, but it heads back to the House because of Senate changes.

Aging, blind and disabled Missourians on Medicaid currently can't keep more than $1,000 in assets such as savings, or $2,000 for married couples. Republican Sen. Bob Dixon says that contributes to a cycle of dependency.

Earlier this year, 69-year-old Aneita McCloskey needed her two front teeth filed down and capped.

“They were kind of worn down and they were also getting little tears and cavities,” she recalls.

Without dental insurance, McCloskey is on the hook for the full $2,400 cost of the procedure. She was given 18 months to pay it before she gets charged interest. That’ll be hard to do on her fixed income.

In years past she would have had to wait to see the dentist again until she could afford it.


Missouri Capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

The House has voted to send a supplemental budget bill to the Senate that calls for nearly $500 million more in spending this year.

Carla used to get dialysis a couple of times a week at the public hospital in Indianapolis, Eskenazi Hospital. She would sit in a chair for hours as a machine took blood out of her arm, cleaned it, and pumped it back into her body.

Then one day in 2014, she was turned away.  

She says even though her lungs were full of fluid, her doctors told her that her condition wasn’t urgent enough to treat that day. “I explained to the doctors that I couldn’t breathe and they told me it wasn’t true, that I had to wait three more days,” she recalls.

Missouri Given Federal Grant for Health Clinics

Oct 21, 2015
United States Department of Health and Human Services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded just under 23 million dollars in Planning Grants to 25 states across the country to support Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.


Even Medicaid is out of reach for some of Missouri’s poorest children, who are uninsured at a rate 2.5 times as high as their counterparts in Illinois. Being uninsured can limit a child’s access to health care or wreak havoc on a family’s finances in the case of an emergency. 

New census numbers show that about 5 percent of Missouri children in families with incomes below 200 percent of poverty ($3,348 a month for a family of three) did not have health insurance in 2014. In Illinois, which has twice as many low-income families, only 2 percent of children in that demographic were uninsured.

Congress established Medicaid fifty years ago today as a health insurance program for the poor, with the intention that the program would provide care just as good as what the rest of Americans receive. According to Rutgers University Medicaid scholar Frank J. Thompson, the program has done a lot of good, even if it hasn’t quite lived up to that early goal.

images_of_money / flickr

  A Missouri tax on medical service providers that helps fund the state Medicaid program has been reauthorized by the governor.

images_of_money / flickr

A one-year reauthorization for a tax that provides a large chunk of funding for Missouri's Medicaid program moved toward Governor Jay Nixon's desk on the final day of session.

Missouri Senate leaders are hoping to find a way to pass a critical medical funding bill, despite the chamber being all but shut down.

Tyler Adkisson

The six speakers representing the City of Columbia — including Mayor Bob McDavid — all shot a very clear set of data-backed messages to state legislators. But even with a multitude of statistics, one main point reigned above all others.

"So it's disingenuous for some legislators to say that we can't afford to expand Medicaid, just as it's disingenuous to say that Medicaid is broken," Fourth Ward City Council Member Ian Thomas said.


images_of_money / flickr

  A new audit claims Missouri owes the federal government $34 million for not complying with Medicaid regulations.

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services audit set for release Tuesday shows Missouri didn't bill drug manufacturers for rebates.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that meant drug companies kept more money while there was less for Medicaid recipients.

The Missouri Department of Social Services oversees the program and says it disagrees with the audit.

A department spokeswoman says the amount owed is closer to $7 million.

j. stephenconn / Flickr

Some mental health providers in rural Missouri are raising concerns about a provision passed by the Missouri Senate that would shift about 200,000 Medicaid recipients onto privatized managed care programs.

Loretta Fuge is a psychologist based in Mansfield, Mo. Currently, Fuge is reimbursed for seeing Medicaid patients through the state’s fee-for-service model. She has some experience with managed care and, she says, she isn’t a fan.

Missouri Senators Reject Medicaid Expansion

Apr 2, 2015
Missouri Capitol
File Photo / KBIA

Missouri lawmakers rejected a bill proposal calling for Medicaid eligibility expansion made available by the Affordable Care Act.

State senators voted 25-9 against Medicaid expansion on Tuesday after a two hour debate. The vote went directly along party lines, with the Republicans overwhelming the Democratic minority.

Missouri Capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

About 300 members of the Missouri Medicaid Coalition marched through the Capitol halls on Thursday, March 19, urging lawmakers to expand Medicaid eligibility for low-income adults.

Republican legislative leaders have said that expanding Medicaid is a nonstarter this year.

Democratic House members have used debate on next fiscal year's budget as an opportunity to criticize the GOP for blocking the measure, which could mean as much as $2 billion in additional federal money.

If you’re in the market for fluorescent light bulbs, you might talk to Chris Smiley. In the past few weeks, she’s been trying to sell off what’s left of Sac-Osage Hospital.

“Casework, lighting, plumping, sinks, toilets. Anything you want,” Smiley says.

That’s not in her job description. She’s actually the CEO of Sac-Osage, a hospital in Osceola, Mo., that closed in September.

Pages