Medicaid Meeting Is Off After Nixon and Lawmakers Can’t Agree Where to Meet
November 20, 2013

Post Dispatch:

JEFFERSON CITY • A planned summit between Gov. Jay Nixon and legislators studying Medicaid has been canceled because of a disagreement over the meeting’s format.

In a letter released today, Nixon accused Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington, and Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, of politicizing the meeting, which was set for Nov. 26. Nixon said he would not participate in “a political game.”

Romine and Barnes said in a letter to the governor today that they planned to convene the meeting as a joint hearing of their interim committees on Medicaid reform. They said it would be held in the ornate House Lounge in the Capitol and would be open to the public.

The governor would have been the only witness, according to the legislators’ letter. After his “opening address,” committee members could have asked Nixon questions.

Legislators wanted to “make sure we have the opportunity to have that question-and-answer time,” Romine said in an interview. He said they wanted to avoid a situation where Nixon simply made a speech and left the room.

“We were very serious about having a good format and setting to have a good discussion on it,” Romine said.


Missouri Lawmakers Looking at Alternative Medicaid Expansion Plan
November 7, 2013

(AP) – The chairman of a special Missouri House panel outlined potential Medicaid changes Wednesday that could expand coverage to lower-income adults while reducing it for children and eventually saving the state millions of dollars.

The detailed cost estimates presented by state Rep. Jay Barnes assume that Missouri would expand its Medicaid eligibility to a level sufficient enough to trigger a lucrative influx of federal money – something his fellow Republicans repeatedly rejected earlier this year.

The projections also assume Missouri would reap savings by ending Medicaid coverage for tens of thousands of children living in lower-to-middle income families – something that has faced resistance from both some Democrats and Republicans.

Barnes did not have an estimate of how many people could be removed from the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, but he said: “There would be a substantial reduction in eligibility.” Some lawmakers appeared uneasy about that possibility.

“I would just as soon take care of the kids,” said Rep. Sue Allen, R-Town and Country, a member of the interim committee and chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee for Health, Mental Health and Social Services.

Barnes, of Jefferson City, stressed that the potential changes weren’t a formal proposal but rather a starting point for discussions by the House Interim Committee on Medicaid Transformation that he leads. The panel is to meet again later this month as it tries to develop recommendations for the 2014 legislative session.

Nixon to Talk Turkey With Lawmakers on Medicaid
November 6, 2013

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

Nixon wants to meet Nov. 26 with members of House and Senate interim committees who have been studying potential Medicaid changes ahead of the 2014 session. The governor says he wants to talk about ways to “provide better outcomes for patients and better returns for taxpayers.”

The Democratic governor says Missouri’s Medicaid system will be one of the most pressing issues before the Republican-led Legislature next year.

Earlier this year, the Legislature rejected Nixon’s proposal to expand Medicaid to more lower-income adults under the terms of the new federal health care law. Republicans legislative leaders say they want to revamp Medicaid before considering an expansion.

McCaskill Pokes Fun at–McCaskill
May 28, 2013

Mo. Sen. Claire McCaskill in Kansas City Tuesday.
Missouri’s outspoken Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill poked a little fun at herself at a Kansas City news conference, Tuesday.
McCaskill was in the midst of blasting the Republican Missouri legislature for not expanding Medicaid. It was Missouri Democratic Governor Jay Nixon’s top priority for the session. It went down in flames.
Star political columnist Steve Kraske asked her if the Democratic Obama administration inadvertently helped Missouri Republicans kill Nixon’s Medicaid expansion.
Three weeks before the end of the session this month, the Obama Administration announced it would continue payments for another year to hospitals that served a very large number of Medicaid patients. Many of those hospitals are in the inner city or rural Missouri.
When Kraske asked if the timing on the Obama decision hurt Nixon’s slim chances to expand Medicaid during the session, McCaskill replied, I’m not going to get into the middle of that” When urged on by another reporter to take a shot at it.
McCaskill backed off, again.
“No, No, No”, she said, “ you must have me confused with Claire McCaskill!” She laughed and ended the news conference.

Missouri Social Services Moves Away from Plan to Shoft Poeople from Medicaid to Disability
April 24, 2013

(AP) – In a letter to House Republicans Tuesday the Missouri Department of Social Services backed down on its efforts to move people from welfare programs onto disability payments funded by the federal government.

Department director Alan Freeman wrote that the contract with Boston-based Public Consulting Group will now only shift people in the state’s Medicaid population who have disabilities and serious medical conditions.

Republicans raised concerns about the original contract and the House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee conducted a hearing on it Monday. Republicans objected to the original program because they said it would move people from a welfare which requires active job seeking to disability payments where working reduces monthly benefits.

Moving people from Medicaid onto disability payments could still save the state $28 million annually, because the state shares Medicaid’s health care cost but the federal government pays for Medicare coverage