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Missouri House Committee Passes GOP Medicaid Reform, Defeats Expansion Attempt

Marshall Griffin
St. Louis Public Radio

AMissouri Housecommittee has passed the Republicans’ alternative to the Medicaid expansion being sought by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon.

The House Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability voted Wednesday evening to pass House Bill 700on a 7-2 vote.  The measure would expand coverage to 180,000 Missourians while removing 44,000 children from the Medicaid rolls.  The sponsor, State Representative Jay Barnes(R, Jefferson City), says the only kids that would be removed are those whose parents have private health insurance or who would qualify for coverage under the federal health exchange.

“So every child in the state of Missouri under 300 percent of the federal poverty level will have access to affordable insurance through their parents,” Barnes said.

The bill would also let private insurers compete to provide coverage for Medicaid recipients, who could then get cash incentives for maintaining good health and avoiding expensive medical procedures.

Committee member Kevin McManus(D, Kansas City) sponsored an amendment that would have adopted the governor’s Medicaid expansion proposal, expanding it to 138 percent of the federal poverty level as called for by the Obama Administration.

“I think the (federal) government, as well as the folks who have testified for this bill, have made it abundantly clear that we need to raise the eligibility standard in order to get those matching funds,” McManus said.

The amendment was voted down before the bill was approved.

One of the “no” votes on House Bill 700 came from Republican State Representative Mark Parkinsonof St. Charles, who said even that proposal was equal to “Obamacare.”

Barnes says he doesn’t know yet if House leaders will even take up his bill before the regular session ends next month.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

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