medicaid reform

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At his sixth State of the State address Tuesday, Gov. Jay Nixon renewed his push to expand Medicaid, the health insurance program for the low-income population, in Missouri. He was careful, though, not to mention the “e” word itself. Instead, the governor called lawmakers to work on reforming the program.

“I look forward to working with all of you to bring affordable health coverage to working families in Missouri, and reform Medicaid the Missouri way,” said Nixon.

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The Senate chairman of a Missouri Medicaid study panel has introduced a plan to revamp the health care program without expanding it.

Republican Sen. Gary Romine , of Farmington, filed legislation Thursday that would expand the use of managed care plans and provide financial incentives for patients to hold down their medical costs.

Romine's legislation largely follows the recommendations of a special committee he lead last year. It makes no mention of expanding Medicaid eligibility for lower-income adults as allowed under President Barack Obama's health care law.

Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri Senate interim committee looking into the state's Medicaid system heard from several doctors and other health care providers Wednesday at a hearing in Jefferson City.  

Among those testifying was Thomas Hale, M.D., a St. Louis-based physician working with Sisters of Mercy.  He told the panel that Medicaid needs to be expanded to make up for the pending loss of federal reimbursements to hospitals, known as DSH payments ("dish").

Teddy Nykiel / KBIA News

 

Echoing testimonies from earlier hearings in Independence and Springfield, witness after witness spoke in support of Medicaid expansion at a House interim committee hearing in Columbia on Saturday.

missouri capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

The House interim committee on Medicaid reform is holding a hearing in Columbia on Saturday. The hearing will be the third in a series of six throughout the state where the public is encouraged to give personal testimony about the state’s Medicaid program.

Republican Rep. Noel Torpey of Independence is the committee chair. He says every testimony the group has received so far has been in favor of Medicaid expansion.

File / KBIA

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones formally announced the creation yesterday of two interim committees that will look at ways to reform the state’s Medicaid system. 

One committee will have House members and selected citizens team up to research ways to improve Medicaid.  They will then hand off their findings to the other committee, which will make recommendations for next year’s legislative session.  Jones said they’re taking a thorough approach to fixing a broken system.

Teddy Nykiel / KBIA News

  Even though Republican lawmakers turned back Democratic efforts to expand Medicaid this year, House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) has created two committees to look into the issue this summer.  The first committee will have House members teaming up with citizens to explore ways to reform the Medicaid system. 

That committee will then give their findings to the second committee, which will make recommendations for next year’s legislative session.  Jones says the Medicaid system is severely broken, and the more people working on fixing it, the better.

File Photo / KBIA

Missouri lawmakers will continue working on several issues after last month’s end of the 2013 regular session.  House Speaker Tim Jones has announced the formation of an interim committee to examine the state’s election laws.  It’s being chaired by fellow Republican Sue Entlicher, who formerly served as Clerk of Polk County:

“We’re looking for anything to keep the statutes up to date and not repeat anything…then also we’re going to comprise, hopefully, a plan to take care of any of the voting machines that need to be updated or need to be replaced,” Entlicher said. 

Teddy Nykiel / KBIA News

 

Although the Missouri legislative session has ended, the discussion on what to do with the state’s Medicaid program continues.

The Affordable Care Act asks states to expand their Medicaid eligibility to cover those who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. That’s about $30,000 for a family of four. Missouri’s Republican-majority legislature has refused to expand Medicaid, calling it a broken system. Now, both the state House and Senate have established interim committees to study ways to reform Medicaid.

Teddy Nykiel / KBIA News

  Missouri state lawmakers launched an interim committee Thursday to examine the issue of Medicaid reform. Governor Jay Nixon pushed heavily for the legislature to expand Medicaid this session, and accept hundreds of millions of federal dollars to do so. But Republican legislators were worried about the long-term costs of the move, and no measure was passed. Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, a Republican member who started the committee, says accepting the federal money wouldn’t fix the problems that are inherent to the Medicaid system.