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Missouri GOP Floats Alternative Medicaid Proposal

Supporters and opponents spent several hours Monday testifying on an alternate Medicaid proposal being floated by House Republicans.  The bill would expand Medicaid coverage to an additional 180,000 Missourians while removing about 44,000 children from the Medicaid rolls.

The bill is being offered by House Republicans as an alternate to Democrats’ call to expand Medicaid.  In addition to changing coverage, private insurers would compete to provide coverage for Medicaid recipients, who could then get cash incentives for staying healthy and avoiding costly medical procedures. 

Several groups that have backed Democratic Governor Jay Nixon’s call to expand Medicaid to 259,000 Missourians next year also testified in favor of the House GOP alternative.  Lobbyist Brent Hemphill represents the Missouri Ambulance Association.

“We don’t necessarily agree with everything in the bill, but we think it’s a good start and we need to continue to move this forward,” says Hemphill.

Michelle Trupiano of Planned Parenthood testified against the bill.  She says it contains a provision that would eliminate the Uninsured Women’s Health Program.

“It’s a 90-10 match through the federal government, and it provides life-saving cancer screenings, annual exams, and birth control services,” says Trupiano. “To take away these services that they currently have access to, I think, will be detrimental.”

Opponents continued to voice support for expanding Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, instead of 100 percent as the GOP bill would do. 

A committee vote on the measure is expected next week.  

Marshall Griffin is the Statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.
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