Lawmakers Pass Sweeping Changes to Medicaid
By Kelley Weiss
Kansas City, MO – Missouri lawmakers agreed on sweeping changes to the state health system serving the poor and disabled. KCUR's Kelley Weiss reports on how this Medicaid plan stacks up to other states programs.
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Missouri HealthNet will overhaul the Medicaid system stressing preventive care and restoring coverage to about 10,000 people of the total 100,000 cut off the program two years ago.
Donna Folkamer, a National Conference of State Legislatures health policy expert, says many states are making changes to Medicaid as well - like West Virginia, Oklahoma and Tennessee. But, she says, success depends on the plan's implementation and the public's awareness of the changes.
Donna Folkamer: "I think the key of course is to have a process that people understand. You know, what are the issues, what's driving it, what are the choices available? I think that's where there have been some issues across the country."
Folkamer says it could be difficult to immediately enact some of the changes like the state is proposing, major changes begin next July. The plan restores coverage to some children and disabled workers, includes a women's health initiative and will increase reimbursement rates for doctors. Critics say Missouri HealthNet leaves too many people without coverage.
Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.
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