Protesters disrupt the Missouri Senate on May 6, 2016.
Courtesy, Missouri Senate

It's a split decision in the trial of the so-called "Medicaid 23," a group of religious leaders who staged a protest in the Missouri Senate more than two years ago over lawmakers' refusal to expand Medicaid.

Twenty-two members of the group were found guilty of trespassing for not leaving the Senate gallery when ordered to do so by Capitol police. But they were found not guilty of obstructing the operations of the Senate. The case of one other member will be decided later.

Planned Parenthood supporters rally in 2015 outside the agency's clinic in St. Louis after a mass shooting at a clinic in Colorado Springs.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

State officials charged with overseeing Missouri’s changes in its women’s health program for the poor are officially estimating it will be next April before a new state-funded program is in place that bars Planned Parenthood from participating.

Missouri’s Department of Social Services has posted its phase-out plan on its website. It comes after Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday that it will take months for the state to replace its federally funded women’s health program – which must include Planned Parenthood – with a state-funded program that does not.

s_falkow | Flickr

Four St. Louis-area residents are among hundreds across the nation facing charges of federal health care fraud.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced the allegations on Wednesday. All told, more than 300 people in 30 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have been accused of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid. The Justice Department called it the largest crackdown in history, both in terms of number of defendants and the amount of fraud alleged.

Gov. Jay Nixon made expanding Medicaid a top priority when he first ran for governor. While he made some small steps, he was largely unsuccessful in achieving that goal.
File photo by Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

After Gov. Jay Nixon placed his signature on legislation that could expand Medicaid for Missourians who are disabled or elderly, I couldn’t help but think back to when the Democratic official visited Bob Pund’s apartment.

Nixon was a mere attorney general when he ventured into Pund’s residence back in 2007. Pund is paralyzed from the shoulders down and had been critical of major cuts made to Medicaid in 2005. As Nixon sat in Pund’s living room, the aspiring governor vowed to make reversing those reductions a priority of his eventual administration – even if he was faced with a Republican-controlled legislature.

Missouri Capitol building
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The only task the Missouri General Assembly is required by law to accomplish has been accomplished and, for the second year in a row, accomplished two weeks before deadline.

Lawmakers have sent a roughly $27.2 billion state budget to Gov. Jay Nixon that increases spending on higher education as a whole, while specifically cutting funding from the University of Missouri System.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Working to pass Missouri's state budget ahead of schedule seems to be the new normal.

Usually at this point in the legislative year, the 13 bills making up the state budget would have barely been in the Missouri Senate's hands for a week. But on Thursday the upper chamber passed 12 of the 13 bills, sending them back to the House to set the stage for final negotiations.

House budget chair Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage, at right, directs debate on budget bills Tuesday.
Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

Missouri's $27 billion state budget is on its way to the Senate.

The House Thursday passed all 13 budget bills, which includes a nearly $9 million cut to higher education.

For that reason, several state representatives voted against the higher ed bill, HB 2003.

Adrian Clark | Flickr

The state of Missouri is on the line to repay about $100 million in to the federal government, unless the state’s Department of Social Services wins a lawsuit that’s brewing in district court.

The details are a bit wonky, so here are a few items to help outline the basics.

Former U.S. Sen. Kit Bond
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome former U.S. Sen. Kit Bond to the program for an in-depth look at his career and legacy.

Gerald Roy with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services speaks at a news conferenc announcing fraud charges while Stephen Wiggington, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois looks on to the right on Thursday, June 18, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Twelve people are facing federal charges in southern Illinois for allegedly defrauding a Medicaid program that provides home care for people with disabilities.

State and federal officials announced the charges Thursday in the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of Illinois as part of a coordinated national crackdown on health care fraud that brought charges against more than 240 people in 17 different federal districts.

Senate Communications

Missouri Senate leaders are hoping to find a way to pass a critical medical funding bill, despite the chamber being all but shut down.


Missouri’s Medicaid program — MO HealthNet — failed to follow federal requirements for drug payments that could have saved the U.S. government millions, according to an audit released today. Now, a federal investigator is asking the state to refund about $35 million, the federal share of the total cost of those drugs.

Adrian Clark | Flickr

Hospitals are pushing for Medicaid expansion in Missouri. Physicians say it’s crucial. And yet, lawmakers in favor of expansion have been unable to offer a proposal that the legislature’s Republican majority will accept. 

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will deliver the annual State of the State address on Wednesday night. Ahead of the speech, “St. Louis on the Air” asked its listeners to weigh in on what they want to hear from the governor.

Following are some of the responses we received. They have been edited for length and clarity.

Pam E.: I want to see Medicaid expanded, legalization of marijuana and improved infrastructure.

Adrian Clark | Flickr

The state agency that provides Medicaid coverage to more than 840,000 Missourians does not have proper oversight over contractors in charge of certain aspects of payment processing, according to an audit released Monday of MO HealthNet.  

The report by the office of Tom Schweich, the Missouri state auditor, identified four areas of concern:

Dara Taylor of Community Catalyst.
Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

On Saturday, open enrollment season for begins. For the second time around, public health organizations and insurance "navigators" are holding outreach events, running ads, and looking for the remaining uninsured Missouri residents.

But who are those uninsured Missourians? And how have the changes implemented through the Affordable Care Act affected the state?  

Hundreds of thousands of people in Missouri are uninsured. Who are they?

Adrian Clark | Flickr

The state of Missouri may be required to repay $11.5 million to the federal government, after miscalculating Medicaid payment rates for some case management services to people with developmental disabilities. The findings  were published last week in an audit by the Office of the Inspector General. 

Jess Jiang / St. Louis Public Radio

The Department of Justice is charging 14 people with Medicaid fraud in Illinois.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen Wigginton, said over the past few years, dozens of people have fleeced a Medicaid program that pays personal assistants to help disabled or sick Medicaid recipients live at home. The intention is to save the state money by keeping people in their homes and out of costly institutions such as hospitals or nursing homes.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

House and Senate members have sent the remainder of the bills that make up Missouri's state budget to Gov. Jay Nixon.

The roughly $26.4 billion spending plan increases higher education spending by 5 percent and adds $114.8 million for K-12 schools, which House Republicans called "historic."

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

After cruising on the Rhine in Germany for the past couple of weeks, Jo Mannies rejoins Jason Rosenbaum and Chris McDaniel for the podcast.

Note: You can subscribe to us on iTunes now.

(Flick/Mark Coggins)

Missouri’s business community is getting more vocal in pushing the state’s legislators to expand Medicaid.

The St. Louis Regional Chamber held a panel Friday with business leaders who expressed frustration that the state is not capturing federal dollars to provide Medicaid coverage to more low-income residents.

This year, the state will pass up $2 billion dollars in federal funds.

After the panel discussion, St. Louis Regional Chamber President and CEO Joe Reagan said that Jefferson City needs to get the message.

In his hospital room at Touchette Regional Hospital in Centerville, patient Steven Glispie finishes signing the paperwork to enroll in Medicaid.
Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

For years in most states, Medicaid eligibility had been limited to disabled adults, seniors needing long-term care and very low-income parents with their children.

Then along came the Affordable Care Act. It was designed to grow health insurance coverage across the board. One of its tenets was to expand Medicaid coverage beyond the extremely poor and disabled to include all adults earning up to 138 percent of federal poverty levels.

But in 2012, the Supreme Court gave states the chance to opt out Medicaid expansion.

Flickr Creative Commons Users/Compiled By Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio

The Obama administration says it will give people more time to sign up for health insurance through the federal online marketplace.

(Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Steve Morgan)

Part one of a three part series:

He woke up in the middle of the night late last year, one hand swollen and the rest of his body was shaking all over.

John Redford realized the symptoms were the consequences of several bites and scratches the day before from his struggle to put the family's 40-pound cat into a cage. He managed to calm himself enough that night and drive an old Mustang 50 miles to a hospital emergency room  in Jefferson City. There doctors began weeks of  treatment  and ultimately saved Redford from losing a finger.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Former U.S. Sen.Kit Bond paid a visit to Jefferson City Tuesday, hoping to persuade his fellow Republicans in the Missouri House and Senate to expand Medicaid coverage to more people.

Bond told a gathering of Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry members that he doesn't like Obamacare, and he called its rollout a "disaster."  But he also said that accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid could enable Missouri to craft its own health-care solution.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius tried to put a price tag and a face on the government’s health reform push in Missouri when she visited the Grace Hill Water Tower Health Center on Friday. 

The price tag: $5 million a day. That’s how much she says Missouri is losing by refusing to expand its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.

The face: a local resident who praised the law for the help it is providing his family while he attends law school.

kevindooley via Flickr

The state of Missouri recovered more than $47 million in fraudulent claims made by Medicaid providers in 2013.

That's about an average year for Attorney General Chris Koster's Medicaid Fraud Unit. The office has recovered as much as $100 million, and as little as $20 million, in a year.

Koster, a Democrat, says those wide variations are triggered by how much money Missouri receives from national settlements. But even though more national settlements means more money for the state's coffers, he says the fraud that concerns him the most is conducted by the smaller providers.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon.

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.


Key provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect at midnight and health-care coverage will begin for millions of Americans.
Yet because some states declined to expand Medicaid, there is a coverage gap for 5 million others, including more than 193,000 in Missouri.
As part of the federal Affordable Care Act, those with incomes between 100 and 400 percent of federal poverty levels will be eligible for financial assistance, or subsidies, as they purchase health insurance through the new marketplace.

(via Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill)

Updated at 1:43 p.m., Thurs., Dec. 12

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she’ll go online within a week to sign up for health insurance on the federal exchange – but she won’t be taking the federal subsidy to help cover the cost.

“I’m not going to take the ‘employer contribution,’ “ McCaskill told Missouri reporters during a conference call Wednesday, referring to the federal government’s share of the health insurance premiums for all federal employees.  She added that her staff will take the subsidy, as most other federal employees will do.