Missouri Chamber advocates for legislation that couples Medicaid expansion with market-based reforms

This week, Rep. Noel Torpey, a Republican from Independence, filed legislation that the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry believes could become the compromise to secure billions of dollars in federal Medicaid funding.  His bill, House Bill 1901, combines Medicaid expansion with market-based reforms.

“We urge lawmakers to consider this legislation, not only for the thousands of additional Missourians that we would be able to help by securing billions in federal funding,” said Missouri Chamber President/CEO Daniel P. Mehan.  “But also to help us keep the doors open in the health care facilities of our rural and urban communities, which, quite frankly, have been put in jeopardy by the ACA.”

The Affordable Care Act was designed to reduce government reimbursement to hospitals for uncompensated care as a trade-off for states to expand the Medicaid program and offer other insurance options, such as health insurance exchanges. In states that choose not to expand Medicaid, such as Missouri, health care systems and consumers will be left paying the increased costs.

“We know that employers, who pay for the majority of private health insurance, are going to be the hardest hit.  We can’t afford to shift billions of dollars annually onto our health care systems and job creators,” Mehan said.  “That’s why we are pushing so strongly for this compromise.”

Combining market-based reforms to the Medicaid system with the expansion is critical to gaining Republican support for the plan.

“We are closely monitoring the details of the reforms and know that these initial concepts may change greatly through debate,” Mehan said.  “However, we see Rep. Torpey’s bill as an important first step toward a viable solution.”

For more information about health care legislation and the Missouri Chamber’s ongoing efforts to expand Medicaid, contact Brendan‎ Cossette, Director of Legislative Affairs/Associate General Counsel at the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, at bcossett@mochamber.com or by phone at 573-634-3511.

Economic development efforts working in Missouri

As Missouri lawmakers brace for another week of economic development discussion in the special legislative session, they can look to past efforts and know their work is paying off for Missourians. It’s been reported that General Motors was considering expansion of its Wentzville plant that would create up to 2,000 new jobs, nearly tripling the plant’s current workforce of 1,200 employees.

“This is economic development at work,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  “This expansion would not only bring 2,000 new jobs for Missouri workers, the economic impact of an expansion this size would be felt across the entire region.”

Last summer, lawmakers worked to pass a valuable tax incentive package targeting auto manufacturers called the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act.  The Act allows expanding auto manufacturers, to keep a portion of its employee withholding taxes in exchange for investments made by the company.  This incentive could come into consideration for major expansions like General Motor’s Wentzville plant.

This summer, lawmakers have been embattled, once again, in the economic development arena.

“When people work, everyone wins,” Mehan said. “As economic activity increases, state revenues increase and that improves Missouri’s ability to invest in education, transportation and other state programs.”

Provisions within the package would be targeted to support creating an international air cargo hub at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis.  Other provisions target data centers, an emerging industry that projects more than $12 billion investment over the next three years.  Science and technology companies, another high-growth segment of the economy, are also the focus of the jobs plan.

“We need to continually work to make sure Missouri is making the most of every investment,” Mehan said.  “That’s why lawmakers are back in Jefferson City.  Some would rather stall debate over philosophical differences than get to work and make sure Missouri remains competitive.  I hope we can overcome the differences and put these critical tools in place for working Missourians.”