The Missouri General Assembly began the second half of the legislative session with a continuation of a multi-day hearing on the importance of reforming Missouri’s Medicaid system, which would allow the state to receive more than $2 billion in annual federal funding. During the hearing, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry continued to voice support for making Medicaid legislation a top priority for passage.
The bill under consideration is House Bill 1901, sponsored by Rep. Noel Torpey, a Republican from Independence. The hearing took place in the House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee. During the hearing, the Missouri Chamber reminded representatives that the state is foregoing more than $5 million every day it delays Medicaid reform. The failure to act soon would also hurt Missouri employers as health providers are forced to pass on added costs to Missouri businesses. Without legislative action on Medicaid reform, the state’s steady economic recovery might be slowed.
“We are urging our friends in the General Assembly to make Medicaid legislation a priority this spring,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber President and CEO. “Missourians are already sending their tax dollars to Washington D.C. to fund Obamacare. By not acting to reform our Medicaid system in Missouri, our tax dollars are simply being diverted to other states. We think they should come back to Missouri where we can expand coverage to 300,000 working Missourians and boost our economy by the tune of $2 billion each year.”
Failing to act soon would also continue to compromise Missouri’s network of rural hospitals. In many parts of the state, Missourians already have to cross a county line to access a hospital. Without Medicaid reform, the added financial pressures placed on providers will likely force more rural hospitals to close or reduce services, creating health care deserts in rural Missouri. Reform is needed soon to protect these hospitals, which are vital employers and health care providers for many Missouri communities.
“We thank the House committee members for taking the time to learn more about Medicaid reform and understand why this is the right action for our citizens and our economy,” said Mehan. “Now, we are asking the General Assembly to show urgency on this matter and pass Medicaid reform while we still have time.”
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.mochamber.com) was founded in 1923 and is the largest business organization in Missouri, representing almost 3,000 employers, providing more than 425,000 jobs for Missourians.