medicaid

Katie Hiler / KBIA

  Note: A portion of this story was aired as part of the Health & Wealth Update for 5/14/2014

When I think about adult dental care in Missouri, I think of Ben Affleck. In the movie Argo, CIA agent Tony Mendez, played by Affleck, pitches his plan to extract six American hostages from Iran by pretending to be on a Hollywood scouting trip. The CIA director doesn’t think it’ll work and wants to look for a better option. That’s when Mendez says:

“There are only bad options. It’s about finding the best one.”

That’s what it’s like for Missourians who can’t afford private dental insurance. Back in 2005 Missouri de-funded dental care for all Medicaid recipients except, children, pregnant women and the disabled. And it’s left a lot of people with only bad options.

Katie Hiler / KBIA

Back in 2005, Missouri de-funded dental care for all Medicaid recipients except, children, pregnant women and the disabled. And it’s left a lot of people with only bad options.

missouri capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

Missouri lawmakers have passed a budget that would restore Medicaid benefits cut a decade ago and boost spending on public education.

Missouri Capitol
j.stephenconn / Flickr

Missouri lawmakers are poised to give final approval to a state budget that could restore Medicaid benefits that were cut a decade ago.

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images_of_money / flickr

A renegade Republican has teamed up with minority party Democrats to deliver the first affirmative vote of the year for a plan to expand Medicaid eligibility.

In the final weeks of the legislative session, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has made a last-ditch effort to resurrect a push to expand Missouri’s Medicaid program and accept roughly $2 billion a year in federal money.

The governor, a Democrat, unveiled his “Missouri Health Works’’ program before business leaders Monday in Cape Girardeau. By coincidence or design, state House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka and an opponent of Medicaid expansion, was also in Cape on Monday with conservative low-tax icon Grover Norquist to highlight a different issue.

Conor Lawless / Flickr

The Missouri House of Representatives has proposed adding $48 million in federal and state funds to next year’s Medicaid budget to cover adult dental care. Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee agreed to the additional $48 million, but with some caveats. The money would only be used to pay for preventative dental care, like maintenance and extraction procedures. Part of the $48 million would also go towards paying dentists more for these procedures. Currently, the state only reimburses dentists up to 35 percent of usual and customary costs.

dentist
Herry Lawford / flickr

Missouri lawmakers appear likely to restore dental coverage for hundreds of thousands of adult Medicaid recipients, nearly a decade after it was eliminated.

missouri capitol
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

Some Missouri Republicans have adamantly opposed expanding Medicaid to low-income adults by tapping into billions of federal dollars under President Barack Obama's health care law.

Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

A bill revamping the management of Missouri's Medicaid program has been set aside after debate turned tense between two Republican senators.

Senators Ryan Silvey and John Lamping engaged in a sometimes pointed discussion Wednesday during which they questioned each other's conservative ideology and rhetoric.

Silvey wants to expand health care coverage to thousands of low-income adults by tapping into an influx of federal Medicaid dollars available under President Barack Obama's health care law. The Republican from Kansas City says it can be done without busting the budget.

audience members at a call to dignity
Heather Adams / KBIA

Debbie Jenkins has been a health care worker for 38 years, but last year she lost her job. Now she lives on $875 a month, which she is told is too much to qualify for Medicaid.

(Updated 4:30 p.m. Wed., March 26)

In the last six months alone, Missouri hospitals have eliminated nearly 1,000 jobs, imposed hiring freezes affecting another 2,145 positions and cut or delayed at least $50 million in building projects.

The blame is due, in part, to the General Assembly’s refusal to expand Medicaid.

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to next year's state budget -- after spending most of Tuesday on amendments to the FY 2015 budget, including two attempts to expand Medicaid.  Both failed, and both were sponsored by state Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur.

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images_of_money / flickr

Legal experts are raising concerns about a Missouri proposal to require adult Medicaid recipients to work.

missouri capitol
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

A Republican plan to revamp and expand Missouri's Medicaid program is getting its first hearing in the state House.

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images_of_money / flickr

Missouri has a backlog of about 22,000 parents and children waiting to learn whether they will be covered by Medicaid.

Missouri Capitol
File Photo / KBIA

Missouri lawmakers have given initial approval to a mid-year budget plan that addresses funding shortfalls for schools and social services.

Gov. Nixon's call to expand Medicaid rejected

Feb 24, 2014
Missouri Capitol
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

A Missouri House panel has once again rejected Gov. Jay Nixon's call to expand Medicaid for about 300,000 people.

Hundreds of people who have developmental disabilities could begin receiving publicly funded services as Missouri officials tackle a waiting list for in-home services that now stands at almost 1,400 people.

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File Photo / KBIA

Gov. Jay Nixon is reiterating his push for Medicaid reform, saying expanding the program would cover the 50,000 currently uninsured Missourians who need mental health services.

missouri capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

The Missouri Senate has defeated an attempt to expand Medicaid eligibility to several hundred thousand lower-income adults.

Tax Credits / Flickr

Missouri has received the names of more than 25,000 people determined to be potentially eligible for Medicaid through the federal government's online insurance marketplace.

But none of those people have been added to Missouri's Medicaid program yet.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the data from the federal government is not in a format that can easily be used by Missouri's Medicaid officials.

stethoscope
vitualis / Flickr

Retired U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, R-Mo., is jumping into the Jefferson City debate over Medicaid expansion – and he’s on the side of  Gov. Jay Nixon and other expansion supporters.

Tax Credits / Flickr

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.

nomadsoul1 / dreamstime

The state of Missouri recovered more than $47 million in fraudulent claims made by Medicaid providers in 2013.

That's about an average year for Attorney General Chris Koster's Medicaid Fraud Unit. The office has recovered as much as $100 million, and as little as $20 million, in a year.

Koster, a Democrat, says those wide variations are triggered by how much money Missouri receives from national settlements. But even though more national settlements means more money for the state's coffers, he says the fraud that concerns him the most is conducted by the smaller providers.

Missouri lawmakers open their annual session Wednesday with some different priorities than those of Gov. Jay Nixon.

Regional news coverage from the KBAI newsroom, including:

    •  Lawmakers mull changes to governor's budget power

    • Nixon pushes for Medicaid expansion in 2014
    • Habitat for Humanity promotes energy-efficient home in Columbia
    Kristofor Husted / KBIA file photo

    Gov. Jay Nixon is closing out the year by asking state legislators once again to pass a bill expanding Missouri’s Medicaid coverage for lower-income residents.

    The democratic governor emphasized that two billion of Missourian’s tax dollars will start flowing to neighboring states that accepted federal funding to expand their Medicaid programs. Nixon says he is still open to meeting with state legislators to hash out concrete specifics of the health care program expansion, which would cover nearly 300,000 more uninsured Missourians.

    Kristofor Husted / KBIA

    Gov. Jay Nixon has selected the chief medical officer for the Missouri Department of Mental Health to lead the state's Medicaid health care program.

    Joe Parks will take over as director of the MO HealthNet Division of the Department of Social Services starting Dec. 16. He replaces Ian McCaslin, who left that position in May after serving as director since August 2007.

    Nixon announced the new Medicaid director Friday.

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