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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon is imploring Missouri residents to lobby their lawmakers in a final push to expand Medicaid coverage for lower-income adults.

The Democratic governor headlined a nearly hour-long rally Tuesday that his administration says drew more than 1,000 people to the Missouri Capitol. It featured business leaders, doctors, pastors and others all lending their support to the Medicaid expansion called for under President Barack Obama's health care law.

Republican legislative leaders have so far refused to expand Medicaid, citing the potential long-term costs to the state.

Tuesday's rally may have done little to change that.

House Speaker Tim Jones, of Eureka, says a majority of his constituents "do not want us to implement any form of Obamacare."

Missouri legislators have just four weeks remaining in their 2013 session.

 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon wants to know what modifications to Missouri's Medicaid system may be acceptable to federal health care officials.

Nixon was to talk over the phone Tuesday with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about a potential Medicaid expansion. Specifically, Nixon wants to know how much flexibility Missouri has to make market-based changes or require co-payments from adults earning up to 138 percent of the poverty level, which is about $27,000 annually for a family of three.

Sebelius has said previously that states must expand Medicaid to that level in order to qualify for full federal funding.

Earlier Tuesday, Nixon met with Republican senators about a Medicaid expansion. He says it was a substantive, thoughtful discussion.

So far, however, Republicans have been reluctant to embrace the Medicaid expansion.

 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has passed a nearly $25 billion budget that would fund modest increases for public education but not the Medicaid expansion sought by Gov. Jay Nixon.

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House approval of the budget Thursday sends it to the Senate, where more changes are likely.

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The 2014 budget plan would provide a roughly 2 percent increase in basic aid for public K-12 schools, colleges and universities. But school funding would still fall $620 million short of what's called for under a state formula.

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Missouri's Tourism Division would get one of the largest percentage increases in the budget - from nearly $14 million this year to almost $20 million next year.

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The budget leaves out more than $900 million of federal funds that Nixon had recommended for a Medicaid expansion.

 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - 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.

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Nixon said in an interview Thursday that he's willing to consider an Arkansas model that would use Medicaid money to purchase policies through an online insurance exchange created under President Barack Obama's health care law.

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The 2010 law called for states to expand Medicaid to adults earning up to 138 percent of poverty, or $32,500 for a family of four. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year made that optional for states.

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Nixon is visiting Hermann and Perryville to build support for a Medicaid expansion. Republican legislators have rejected his plan. But Nixon says he hopes for a compromise.

 

Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has rejected another Democratic effort to add a Medicaid expansion to the state budget.

The House opened debate Tuesday on the state's 2014 budget by defeating an effort to send the budget back to a committee in hopes of adding more than $900 million of federal funds to expand Medicaid for low-income adults.

The defeat of Tuesday's motion was almost a foregone conclusion in the Republican-led House, because the House Budget Committee had previously rejected the Medicaid expansion.

Democratic Gov. Jay was traveling Tuesday to suburbs of Kansas City and St. Louis to build public support for the Medicaid expansion.

The 2010 health care law signed by President Barack Obama calls for a Medicaid expansion, but a Supreme Court ruling last year made it optional for states.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House Republicans have given a resounding `no' to Democratic plans to expand Medicaid.

Two separate House committees rejected the plan Monday. One shot down an attempt to add funding for a Medicaid expansion to the 2014 budget. Another panel defeated legislation that would have authorized the expansion of Medicaid coverage to an estimated 260,000 lower-income adults.

Both committees voted along party lines, with Republicans opposing the Medicaid expansion and Democrats supporting it. More than 30 people representing health care, business and social services groups testified in support of the proposed expansion.

The Medicaid expansion is called for by President Barack Obama's health care law and supported by Gov. Jay Nixon.

House Republicans are working on an alternative that may include a more modest expansion combined with cost-savings measures.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The CEO of a rural hospital is warning that its financial security could hinge on the expansion of Missouri's Medicaid health care program.

Pemiscot Memorial Hospital CEO Kerry Noble joined lawmakers at a Capitol news conference Monday as House Democrats announced legislation to expand Medicaid eligibility for low-income adults.

The federal health care law cuts payments to hospitals for treating uninsured patients on the assumption they will get more money from an expanded Medicaid program.

If Medicaid is not expanded, Nobel says his hospital system would lose around $1 million annually because of the reduced federal payments for the uninsured. He says that would eventually put the hospital at risk.

Gov. Jay Nixon also wants to expand Medicaid.

But Republican legislative leaders have expressed concerns about its potential long-term costs.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The top budget writer in the Missouri House has outlined a spending plan that omits Governor Jay Nixon's proposed Medicaid expansion.

The plan presented Thursday by Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream would also provide a smaller increase for public colleges and universities than Nixon had proposed for the 2014 fiscal year.

The Democratic governor wants to accept about $900 million from the federal government to expand Medicaid health care eligibility to nearly 260,000 lower-income adults. But Stream said he left that out of the budget because it runs contrary to Republican philosophy against bigger government.

Nixon had proposed a $34 million funding increase for colleges and universities. Stream's proposed budget pares that back to $20 million. It also provides less money for early childhood programs than Nixon had sought.
Published in Local News
Governor Jay Nixon's plan to expand Medicaid in Missouri has encountered a new wrinkle of opposition from some lawmakers. Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee raised concerns Monday that the Medicaid expansion could hurt the state's credit rating.

Missouri currently enjoys a triple-A rating.

But Moody's Investors Service last week assigned a negative outlook to Missouri because of the proportion of the state budget that already comes from the federally and state-funded Medicaid program.

If Missouri expands Medicaid eligibility as called for in the federal Healthcare Reform Act, it would get billions of dollars more from the federal government in coming years.
Published in Local News
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