The Missouri House has passed all 13 budget bills with an estimated $26.6 billion spending plan for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins July 1.
During Thursday's round of budget votes, House Democrats began sharply criticizing this year's budget writing process. Along with Gov. Jay Nixon, they disagree with House Republicans about how much revenue they think the state will take in. State Rep. Margo McNeil, D-Hazelwood, accused GOP leaders of crafting an unnecessarily low budget.
On this week’s podcast, Jason and Jo discuss the roadblocks to getting “right to work” on the ballot and why upcoming campaign finance reports matter. For the rest of the show, the Politically Speaking crew talks with Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City.
During the show, Barnes described his proposal to expand Medicaid – which some see as an alternative to the straight-up Medicaid expansion that Gov. Jay Nixon supports. Barnes also discussed his efforts to find out more about Missouri’s unsuccessful bid to lure Boeing’s 777X to Missouri.
The chair of a Missouri House interim committee on Medicaid has offered the beginnings of a potential plan to overhaul the system.
It includes expanding Medicaid coverage to around 225,000 adults while eliminating or reducing coverage for children and blind adults eligible for federally subsidized insurance policies. State Representative Jay Barnes (R, Jefferson City) says the potential changes could save the state around $42 million by the time they're fully implemented.
He met with the GOP caucus today to discuss his Medicaid expansion proposal and their plans to reform the system. Nixon told reporters afterwards that any proposal still needs to expand Medicaid to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $32,500 for a family of four.
“We can’t afford it…it’s not rocket science," Allen said. "If we expand, taking federal dollars now, which I do not believe would not use some state (general revenue), even with what we’re told the feds would do now, there will be a time (when) the feds will back off.”
House Democrats are sponsoring legislation to expand Medicaid in Missouri, despite the fact that the state budget filed by Republicans leaves out the proposed expansion.
House Bill 627 would expand Medicaid to an additional 300,000 Missourians, and House Democrats say not passing it would cost the state 5,000 jobs and could force some rural hospitals to close their doors. Kerry Noble is CEO of Pemiscot Memorial Health Systems in the Missouri Boot-heal.