An alternate Medicaid expansion bill that contained some reforms sought by Missouri House Republicans is all but dead this year.
House Bill 700 would have expanded Medicaid to 180,000 Missourians, removed 44,000 children from the Medicaid rolls, allowed private insurers to compete to cover Medicaid recipients, and offered cash bonuses to motivate recipients to stay healthy. The sponsor, State Representative Jay Barnes (R, Jefferson City), offered his bill as an amendment to one of his other bills, but later withdrew it.
"Unfortunately, the Missouri State Senate has indicated it does not have the stomach to pick up a Medicaid transformation bill this year," Barnes said. "We cannot ignore this – if conservatives do nothing, if the Missouri General Assembly does nothing, we cede control of our entire health care system to the Obama Administration."
Barnes' bill would have also relied on the Obama Administration to exempt Missouri from raising Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, a move Democrats have said won't happen.
Meanwhile, the top Democrat in the Missouri House, Minority Floor Leader Jacob Hummel (D, St. Louis), called the 2013 legislative session a failure in a statement released shortly after Barnes withdrew his amendment:
"House Republicans today abandoned all efforts to expand Medicaid eligibility under the federal Affordable Care Act. In doing so, House Republicans abandoned struggling rural hospitals; they abandoned 24,000 new jobs; and they abandoned billions of federal dollars paid by Missouri taxpayers that should have been brought back to Missouri.
"Expanding Medicaid was the single most important issue facing the General Assembly this year, and House Republicans simply decided to give up. Although three weeks remain before the legislature adjourns for the year, the 2013 legislative session must already be considered a total and abject failure."
Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport