A series of hearings by state lawmakers into Missouri's Medicaid system has begun.

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.

Missouri Capitol
File Photo / KBIA

Advocates for the mentally and physically disabled are urging Missouri lawmakers to expand access to the Medicaid health care program.

Tuesday marked the first day of public testimony for an interim Senate committee studying potential Medicaid changes in advance of next year's legislative session.

Many of the initial witnesses supported an expansion of adult Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty level as allowed under President Barack Obama's health care law. But Missouri's Republican-led Legislature defeated similar proposals earlier this year.

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) has appointed a 50-member task force to study potential changes to state’s Medicaid program.

Jones pledged weeks ago that the group will include Missourians from diverse backgrounds. The task force includes 36 private citizens, most of whom are health care practitioners or hospital officials from all over the state. A few are from consumer advocacy groups. One person identified as a Medicaid recipient.

Rep. Noel Torpey (R-Independence) will chair the group, which also includes 14 legislative membres. He says the group will hold six public hearings throughout the state between July 10 and Aug. 14, to get input from the public on Medicaid reform.

“I’m eager to hear what Missourians have to say about Medicaid,” Torpey said. “Whether they think it’s good to reform, bad, or indifferent. I’m expecting some personal testimony, I would think, on how they’ve experienced it personally.”

Health money
Tax Credits / Flickr

People enrolling in Missouri's Medicaid health care program soon could do so online instead of through paper applications.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the state has awarded a $147 million contract to a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,-based company called EngagePoint to set up the new system. About 90 percent of the money is coming from the federal government.

An audit by the Federal Office of Inspector General says Missouri should pay back more than $21 million in federal Medicaid payments made to a state-operated children's hospital in St. Louis County.

The audit found that Hawthorn Children's Psychiatric Hospital failed for five years to fulfill regulatory requirements to qualify for the federal Medicaid reimbursements.

A written response from Missouri Department of Social Services disagreed with the findings.

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

  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.

Health care reform put on hold as lawmakers wrap up session

May 16, 2013
Jennifer Davidson / KSMU

Rain is drizzling on the roughly 40 people standing in line outside the Good Samaritan Care Clinic in rural Mountain View, Missouri. Some have been standing for hours. At 5:30 pm, the clinic doors swing open, and the patients flood into a clean, bare bones waiting room.

Missouri Department of Social Services

The director of Missouri’s Medicaid program, Dr. Ian McCaslin, has left.

Efforts in Missouri to restore caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits are in limbo.

File / KBIA

After declining to expand Medicaid coverage this year, the Missouri House has passed a bill that would create a committee to study the issue next year.

The House passed the measure 133-27 yesterday. It would create a joint committee of House and Senate members to look at ways to "transform" the state's Medicaid program. The committee would begin at the end of the current session until the 2015 session's start in January.

An alternate Medicaid expansion bill that contained some reforms sought by Missouri House Republicans is all but dead this year.

File / KBIA

The Missouri Department of Social Services has announced it will scale back on its participation in a contract to move welfare recipients onto federal disability.

Jay Nixon
File Photo / KBIA

Gov. Jay Nixon's administration says it is expecting more than 1,000 people to rally at the Missouri Capitol in support of Medicaid expansion. The Democratic governor plans to speak at this afternoon's event as part of his effort to expand Medicaid to more lower-income adults as envisioned by the federal health care law.

Republican legislators so far have refused to embrace a Medicaid expansion. And the prospects may be getter dimmer.

A Missouri House committee has passed the Republicans’ alternative to the Medicaid expansion being sought by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon.

Jay Nixon
File Photo / KBIA

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is continuing to push for a Medicaid expansion, but he's open to alternatives that could use federal money to buy private insurance for lower-income adults.

Jeanine Anderson / Flickr

This week -- we’re hearing about the Medicaid expansion debate down in West Plains -- the seat of rural Howell County. A study by the Missouri Budget Project shows that Medicaid expansion would have its most dramatic impact in the state’s rural areas.

Deadline looms for Missouri decision on health exchange

Feb 14, 2013
Jay Nixon at State of the State Address 2010
File Photo / KBIA

Missouri has less than 24 hours to decide whether it wants to join with the federal government to set up a health exchange in the state.

Gov. Jay Nixon told U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last November that state law prevents him from moving forward with anything without legislative approval. And, there doesn’t appear to be much traction among state lawmakers.

Watch the show and join the conversation on the Intersection website.

Olga Khrustaleva / KBIA

During a visit with business and healthcare leaders on the MU campus Thursday. Governor Jay Nixon said expanding Missouri's Medicaid program would bring more federal money to the state and create about 24,000 new jobs in the first year. Nixon called the expansion a smart business decision that would bring Missouri taxpayer money back into the state.

More on the money in medicaid expansion debate

Feb 5, 2013
Pill bottle on money
images_of_money / Flickr

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.

Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

Governor Jay Nixon pitched a nearly $26 billion budget to the state of Missouri during Monday night's State of the State Address. It includes spending increases for K-12 schools, higher education, and the proposed Medicaid expansion he’s been calling for since late November.

missouri capitol
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

Missouri lawmakers have convened their 2013 session with Republican supermajorities controlling both the House and Senate.

Republicans have made tax cuts one of their top priorities for the 97th General Assembly, which runs until May 17.

They also plan to pursue business-friendly changes to the state's legal system, a bonding proposal for colleges, job-protection changes for public teachers and potentially a new transportation funding plan.

MU Hospital

Missouri hospitals report providing a record $1.1 billion of uncompensated care to patients in 2011.

Creative Commons / Flickr

People and groups who work with Medicaid clients are urging Missouri lawmakers to expand coverage in next year’s state budget.

KBIA File Photo

Democratic Governor Jay Nixon is preparing to announce his support for a major health care initiative.

Nixon scheduled news conferences Thursday at Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, Barnes Jewish Center in St. Louis and Jordan Valley Community Health Center in Springfield.

He will be joined at some of the stops by officials from the Missouri Hospital Association and the Missouri Primary Care Association. Both groups are part of a new coalition urging Missouri to expand Medicaid eligibility as called for by President Barack Obama's health care law.

Pill bottle
The Javorac / Flickr

Missouri’s participation in a federal Medicaid expansion would be an economic boon for the state and even pay for itself, according to a new report commissioned by the Missouri Hospital Association and the Missouri Foundation for Health. Under the federal health law, states can choose whether or not to expand Medicaid, which provides health insurance to the poor and disabled. The federal government would fully pay for an expansion during the first few years, but many state lawmakers, like Republican house speaker Tim Jones, worry about the long-term costs.

hospital room
jodimarr / Flickr

A new report says Missouri's Medicaid costs could rise by 6.6 percent over 10 years if the state fully implements the federal health care law.

But the report also says almost half of that increase will occur even if Missouri does not expand Medicaid eligibility for adults.

The report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Urban Institute says Missouri can expect to spend an additional $1.2 billion from 2013 to 2022 as more people join the Medicaid rolls because of the federal health care law.

hospital interior

Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder is urging state lawmakers to refrain from creating a health insurance exchange or expanding Medicaid when they convene for their regular session next year.