Medicaid expansion | St. Louis Public Radio

Medicaid expansion

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to next year's state budget -- after spending most of Tuesday on amendments to the FY 2015 budget, including two attempts to expand Medicaid.  Both failed, and both were sponsored by state Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is trying a new pitch in his quest to persuade state legislators to expand the state's Medicaid program and accept the $2 billion a year in extra federal money that would go along with it.

Nixon told supporters Thursday night in St. Louis County that the state’s current Medicaid program is so stingy that it discourages people from working — and could drive entry-level workers to other states that are expanding Medicaid.

Missouri now bars Medicaid coverage for anyone who earns more than $2,217 a year — which boils down to $42.63 a week.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

State Sen. Rob Schaaf is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to health-care policy. But some believe that this staunch opponent of Medicaid expansion holds the key to ending the legislative impasse over it.

File Photo

HANNIBAL, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster –  now running for governor -- dove straight into the health-care debate Saturday when he attacked his former Republican colleagues for opposing Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act.

“The Affordable Care Act was a Republican idea, for goodness sakes,” Koster declared. “They’re just pissed that we stole it.”

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.

File photo

Retired U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, R-Mo., is jumping into the Jefferson City debate over Medicaid expansion – and he’s on the side of  Gov. Jay Nixon and other expansion supporters.

Bond, a former two-term governor, has been hired as a lobbyist by the Missouri Chamber to try to persuade fellow Republicans in the General Assembly to drop their opposition and agree to take the federal aid which would cover all the expansion’s costs for three years and at least 90 percent thereafter.

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

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics. 

It's another two-part edition of the podcast. Marshall Griffin joins the Politically Speaking crew to talk about Gov. Jay Nixon's State of the State speech and the latest developments involving Missouri's death penalty. Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, joins Chris, Jo and Jason for the second part of the show. 

Ryan White, the Indiana teenager who, after contracting AIDS at age 13, advocated for a more considered approach to those facing AIDS-related illnesses.
(via Wikimedia Commons/Wildhartlivie)

The centerpiece of the federal government’s war against HIV/AIDS bears the name Ryan White.  

The public might not remember him without a little context. A hemophiliac who was diagnosed with AIDS at age 13, White drew international attention when he not only had to cope with the disease but also had to wage a legal fight to attend school with his classmates in Kokomo, Ind.,  following his diagnosis. He died in 1984 at the age of 18 after becoming a poster child for more compassion, counseling and medical care for those facing AIDS-related illnesses.

(via Flickr / jimbowen0306)

The next session of the Missouri Legislature opens Wednesday, January 8, and with it an uptick in political activity in the state.

Terry Jones, Founders’ Professor of Political Science and Public Policy Administration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis joined St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum in studio with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss what to expect during the 2014 session.

Among the issues to keep an eye on this session will be the school transfer issue, Medicaid expansion and transportation tax.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - After months of lying low on the topic of Medicaid expansion, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon appears to be resurrecting the issue with Tuesday's invitation to General Assembly leaders to join him “for a discussion about reforming our state’s health-care system to provide better outcomes for patients and better returns for taxpayers.”

This article fist appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Only months after closing its specialty clinics, ConnectCare informed workers on Friday that it was eliminating the rest of its services on Nov. 15. The results will be a huge hole in the region’s medical safety net, officials say, noting that the urgent care center was on track to handle medical visits to about 17,000 patients.

Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: By Missouri’s refusal to expand its Medicaid program, more than 193,000 adults in the state will find themselves stuck in a coverage gap, come Jan. 1.

These are uninsured adults  who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but too little to be eligible for the government subsidies that discount the price of private health insurance.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Mayor Francis Slay
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | 2013 photo

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri could lose $8 billion in federal funding during the first six years of health reform if state lawmakers continue to refuse to expand Medicaid to insure more of the needy, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She spoke during a stop in St. Louis for a meeting with St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, County Executive Charlie Dooley, health leaders and others working to help prepare consumers for the reform law’s insurance exchange marketplace, which opens for business on Oct. 1.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in St. Louis on Thursday to talk about the Affordable Care Act.

Sebelius met with city and county officials and representatives of the local healthcare community in a closed-door session at St. Louis City Hall.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Sebelius said as of October 1, Missourians will be able to purchase health insurance through a new online marketplace.

Sebelius said many of Missouri's 800,000 uninsured will be able to get coverage.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: One by one they came to sit in front of the special House committee to deliver their three-minute remarks. Most had same message: Expand Missouri’s Medicaid program.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In an unusual display of political bipartisanship, some members of the Missouri delegation in Congress have joined forces to urge the federal government to continue funding a health program that was begun as a placeholder for expanding Medicaid.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Gov. Jay Nixon told reporters he was “hopeful” that House and Senate committees studying changes to the state’s Medicaid program would result in legislative action next year.

The two chambers are holding hearings this summer on the health-care program for the poor. The Senate committee held hearings in Jefferson City, while another House committee is set to convene tomorrow in Independence.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri legislature closed its 2013 legislative session without resolving what was likely the most important question facing it: whether to adopt the proposal put forward by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, to expand the Medicaid program to a projected 260,000 uninsured people in Missouri.  While a bipartisan solution did not pass, the legislature appointed a committee to consider this question further. Recent signals suggest that a compromise solution could be found in the 2014 session.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: St. Louis and St. Louis County started a promising pilot program last year to extend medical care to more of their working poor. Called Gateway to Better Health, the program offered the uninsured the chance to trade costly emergency room health care for a better-coordinated system that links people to medical providers at health centers.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has sent a letter today to like-minded groups that support the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program, saying that he plans to continue efforts “to bring the dollars Missourians send to Washington back to strengthen Medicaid in Missouri…”

Speaker Tim Jones and Majority Leader John Diehl confer during session's final hours
Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: With the exception of its laser focus on gun rights, the 97th session of the Missouri General Assembly that ended at 6 p.m. Friday pretty much reflected the recent tradition:

The Republican majority portrayed it an “immense success,’’ the Democrats called it an extremist failure and Gov. Jay Nixon declined to say.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When the Missouri House convened Thursday, legislators looked up to see a spooky sight: a life-size human “body” lying atop the chamber’s huge skylight.

The “body” turned out to be a paper cutout placed on the roof as a joke.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Amidst legislative wrangling and uncertainty, the MoHealthNet Oversight Committee passed a resolution on Tuesday in support of expanding Medicaid.

The committee – which was set up in 2007 after lawmaker restructured the program – voted 8-2 with one abstention for a resolution “strongly encouraging the Missouri General Assembly and the governor to pass and sign enabling legislation in the 2013 session” expanding the program to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. That's about $26,000 a year for a family of three and  $32,000 a year for a four-member family.

John Jones, Steve Foster and Johnny Morgan at Feller's Family Restaurant, Willow Springs, Mo.
Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: While  enjoying a plate of gravy and biscuits at Feller’s Family Restaurant last Friday morning in Willow Springs, Mo., Johnny Morgan energized the breakfast conversation with examples of what he regards as unwarranted government intrusion into people’s lives.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: State Sen. John Lamping emphasized on Monday that the Missouri Senate wouldn’t pass any Medicaid expansion in 2013, preferring instead to look to next year to resolve the issue.

And the Ladue Republican's assessment didn’t change after Gov. Jay Nixon spoke with the Senate Majority Caucus on Tuesday, a meeting roughly a week after he met with House Republicans.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: One week after discussing Medicaid expansion with House Republicans, Gov. Jay Nixon will sit down Tuesday morning with Republican members of the Missouri Senate to talk about the issue.

But the meeting may not go too smoothly. On Monday, the top Republican in the Missouri Senate indicated that Medicaid expansion may be dead for the session. And another senator told the Beacon in no uncertain terms that the Senate won’t approve either an expansion of the program to 138 percent of the federal poverty level or a Republican proposal that passed out of a state House committee last week.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri House has passed a new state budget without Gov. Jay Nixon's sought-after Medicaid expansion, but that doesn't mean Republicans are dropping the issue entirely.

The House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee is slated to vote Wednesday on HB700, a bill proposed by state Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, to change the state's current Medicaid program dramatically.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: William Shortall is among 50,000 Missourians who are in a bind because they don't have sufficient insurance to cover treatment for their mental health problems.

“Approximately five years ago, I was diagnosed with a mental illness, bipolar disorder,” he said. Shortal's plight isn’t unusual, pointing to federal data showing that about one in four Americans is coping with some form of mental illness. Most don’t get timely help, he says, because they lack health insurance.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In an apparent attempt to nudge Missouri’s Republican legislative leaders, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has told employers around the state that if the state doesn’t expand Medicaid, they’ll be left holding the financial bag.

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