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   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - In case there was any doubt, several Republican state senators are making it clear that there will be no expansion of Medicaid eligibility this year in Missouri.
   Five GOP senators took to the Senate floor Monday as the Legislature returned from spring break to say they will block any attempt to expand Medicaid eligibility during the session that ends in mid-May.
   Their strong pronouncement came a day before a House committee is to hear testimony on a proposal that would expand Medicaid coverage to thousands of lower-income adults, partly by subsidizing their enrollment in private health insurance policies. The House legislation would link the Medicaid expansion to a broader overhaul of the program.
   States that expand Medicaid eligibility can get extra federal money under President Barack Obama's health law.
 
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Former Republican Sen. Kit Bond is citing problems with the federal health care law as a reason to embrace one of its key provisions by expanding Medicaid coverage.
 
Bond was part of panel discussion Tuesday about Medicaid hosted by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The former longtime U.S. senator has been hired by the chamber to lobby Republican state lawmakers who have repeatedly defeated a Medicaid expansion.
 
He said Medicaid expansion would draw additional federal dollars, thus helping to offset federal funding cuts due to hit hospitals that treat uninsured patients.
 
Bond said Medicaid expansion can be paired with "reforms" that model the program on the private sector and require participants to pay more out of pocket.
 
Some Republican lawmakers have cited concerns about its long-term costs.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - State officials are projecting that 24,000 new jobs would be created if Missouri chooses to expand its Medicaid program.
 
The Department of Economic Development said Friday that raising the program's eligibility to levels called for by the federal health care law would bring $9.9 billion in new wages to the state.
 
Gov. Jay Nixon has asked lawmakers to expand the program to include adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level - a little less than $33,000 annually for a family of four. Nixon's administration estimates that 300,000 Missourians could join the program under those levels.
 
The Republican-led Legislature has repeatedly rejected expanding the program and argued the state couldn't afford it. But a Republican House member introduced legislation this week that would partially expand the program.
 
Published in Local News
Thursday, 06 February 2014 04:18

GOP led MO Senate kills Medicaid expansion

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has defeated an attempt to expand Medicaid eligibility to several hundred thousand lower-income adults.
   The 23-9 vote Wednesday followed party lines, with majority Republicans voting against the expansion and minority party Democrats supporting it.
   The vote marked the first official rejection of Medicaid expansion this year since Democratic Governor Jay Nixon renewed his call for it during his State of the State address. Republicans repeatedly rejected similar proposals last year.
   About half of the states have expanded Medicaid under the terms of President Barack Obama's health care law. States that do so can receive enhanced federal payments.
   But Missouri's Republican lawmakers continue to express concerns about the potential long-term costs.
 
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Former U.S. Sen. Kit Bond has been hired by a state business association to lobby his fellow Republicans in the state Legislature in support of a Medicaid expansion.
Bond's lobbying firm is being paid by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Chamber President Dan Mehan says the group hopes to capitalize on Bond's reputation and political connections to persuade reluctant Republican lawmakers that Medicaid expansion is a good idea.
Missouri's Republican-led Legislature has repeatedly rejected calls to extend Medicaid eligibility to an estimated 300,000 additional lower-income adults.
The expansion has been backed by Gov. Jay Nixon and his fellow Democratic lawmakers.
States that expand Medicaid eligibility can receive enhanced federal payments under the terms of President Barack Obama's health care law.
Published in Local News

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers have given final approval to legislation to make more low-income adults eligible for health insurance through the federal health care law.

The Medicaid expansion bill approved 75-32 Tuesday by the Republican-led House now heads to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who plans to sign it.

The newly eligible recipients would be covered starting in March instead of January because Senate Republicans refused to put the measure into effect immediately.

Medicaid expansion is part of a strategy to ensure nearly all Americans have health insurance under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. It was designed to cover the neediest uninsured people but became optional for states because of a Supreme Court decision.

Michigan's plan includes GOP provisions requiring federal approval. Snyder says he has received "positive feedback" from the Obama administration.

Published in National News

   An important healthcare safety net in St. Louis is laying off more than half its staff.  

   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that St. Louis ConnectCare has issued 60 day layoff notices to 88 employees, including nurses and other medical personnel.  The non-profit organization runs an outpatient clinic at the former St. Louis Regional Medical Center and provides outpatient specialty medical services for the poor.  

   ConnectCare CEO Melody Eskridge told the Post that about 60 percent of the patients they serve are uninsured and about 23 percent receive Medicaid.  She says ConnectCare must reorganized because for financial reasons.

   Both Eskridge and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay say the Missouri Legislatures failure to expand Medicaid is at least partly to blame for ConnectCare's bleak financial outlook.   

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - 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 Monday. 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.

Gov. Jay Nixon called for lawmakers to expand coverage for 260,000 adults starting in 2014. The Republican-led Legislature rejected that appeal numerous times and abandoned plans for an alternative proposal earlier this month.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

 

Published in Local News

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Republican senators have made it clear that there will be no Medicaid expansion in Missouri this session.

   The Republican-led Senate voted down a Democratic attempt Monday night to insert $890 million of federal funds into Missouri's budget to expand Medicaid eligibility to an estimated 260,000 lower-income adults.

   The vote was just the latest in a series of similar defeats in the Missouri Legislature for the Medicaid expansion backed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and called for under President Barack Obama's health care law.

   But this vote carried a bit more weight. That's because it ensured that neither the Senate nor the House version of the budget includes the Medicaid expansion. Under legislative rules, negotiators cannot insert money into the final budget that wasn't in either chamber's plan.

 
Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An expansion of Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul could increase Illinois' unpaid bills.

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that the expansion would also force the state to take even longer to pay its existing $9 billion in backlogged bills.

Medicaid is the government health program for the poor and disabled. The General Assembly is considering approving a federally subsidized expansion of the program. Estimates show that about 342,000 additional Illinois residents could become eligible under the planned expansion.

The federal government would fully fund the first three years of the expansion. It would then incrementally drop the funding.

The Illinois Senate in February approved a measure authorizing the enrollment increase. Officials expect the House to vote on the issue by May 31.

 

Published in Local News
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