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.

    Sarah Petra / Wikimedia commons

    Some doctors are proposing to make Missouri's Medicaid program a little more like a health club.

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    File Photo / KBIA

    Plans may be falling through for a meeting between Gov. Jay Nixon and lawmakers to discuss potential Medicaid changes.

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    Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

    A Republican-led Senate committee considering changes to Missouri's Medicaid program has rejected a Democratic proposal in support of expanded eligibility.

    The decision by the Senate Interim Committee on Medicaid Transformation and Reform dealt with what recommendations to include in a report in advance for the 2014 session.

    Earlier Wednesday, Democrats walked out of the committee while it considered other recommendations for changing Medicaid.

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    The chairman of a special Missouri House panel is outlining potential Medicaid changes that could expand coverage to lower-income adults while reducing it for children.

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    File Photo / KBIA

    Gov. Jay Nixon is proposing a Thanksgiving week meeting with Missouri lawmakers to discuss potential changes to the Medicaid health care system.

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    Missouri's Medicaid program will receive $26 million through a national settlement with a pharmaceutical company.

    Mo. House committee to continue Medicaid hearings next month

    Oct 31, 2013

    Two days of hearings into Missouri’s Medicaid system were wrapped up Wednesday by a House interim committee tasked with crafting reforms that could also include a moderate increase in coverage.  

    Committee members have been examining how some GOP-led state legislatures have expanded Medicaid, but several Republicans remain opposed to approving any expansion until reforms are put in place. 

    Keith Frederick of Rolla said doing so would load the cost onto future generations and would be akin to  “financial child abuse.” 

    Missouri Capitol
    File Photo / KBIA

    An interim Missouri House committee has resumed examining the state’s Medicaid system this week. 

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

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    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.”

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    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.