As Washington announces plans to reverse Medicaid cuts, Missouri lawmakers consider task force

 

The Obama Administration has announced plans to slow implementation of the ACA by reversing $500 million in cuts to the Medicaid program meant to start in 2014. That move takes some of the pressure off of Missouri lawmakers, who have been grappling with how to insure those left without coverage through the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it has become known.

For decades, Washington has sent millions of dollars in Disproportionate Share, or DSH, payments to hospitals to compensate for expenses they incur treating the uninsured. The ACA cut these payments since the plan would cover more insured through expanded Medicaid. Following a Supreme Court decision that gave states the option on whether or not to expand Medicaid, it appeared that hospitals were going to be left holding the bag in states that chose not to expand coverage. With Washington’s decision to slow down implementation, states have more time to find resolution.

Meanwhile in Missouri, lawmakers are considering forming a task force to come up with an implementation plan for Missouri. Rep. Jay Barnes is sponsoring HB 986, which would establish the Mo Healthnet Transformation Task Force in the Department of Social Services. The task force would be responsible for making recommendation in a report to the General Assembly on improvements that could be made to the state medical assistance health care delivery system including;

• Advice for more efficient and cost effective ways to provide coverage for Mo Healthnet participants • Evaluations of how coverage for Mo Healthnet participants can resemble that of commercially available health plans while complying with federal Medicaid requirements The Task force will be required to meet quarterly and annually submit its recommendations and statewide plan for improvements to the Governor, General Assembly and the Department of Social Services. The members of the task force would consist of; • The director of the Department of Social services or his or her designee • The director of the Department of Health and Senior Services or his or her designee • Four members of the House of Representatives including two from each political party
• Four members of the Senate including two from each political party • Five members from the Missouri health care community who must be appointed by the governor with senate approval.

The bill was heard in the House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee on Monday and was voted do pass. It now awaits a hearing in the Rules Committee.

For more information about Medicaid transformation or similar issues, please contact Brendan Cossette, director of legislative affairs/ associate general counsel for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, at bcossette@mochamber.com or by phone at 573-634-3511.

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The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry understands that the quality of life in our state depends on quality jobs for Missourians. To that end, we have one simple mission: to protect and advance Missouri business.

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