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Government, Politics & Issues

Second Day Of Medicaid Hearings; Several GOP House Members Remain Opposed to Expansion

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Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio
The Mo. House Interim Committee on Medicaid Transformation conducts a second day of hearings at the Mo. Capitol on Oct. 30, 2013.

A second day of hearings has concluded into Missouri's Medicaid system by an interim House committee tasked with putting together a potential overhaul that could include expansion.

Some Republican committee members are exploring options that could include a limited expansion combined with reforms, similar to a proposal floated earlier this year by Committee Chairman Jay Barnes (R, Jefferson City).  But there's still opposition to that approach.  Fellow Republican Keith Frederick of Rolla says Medicaid needs to be fixed before it can be expanded.

"Now this would be a whole different discussion, in my view, if we were living within our means (with)in a balanced budget, at the federal level, and we were paying as we went for these services," Frederick said.  "But to offload the cost of this 'great idea' to our future generations, in my view, is financial child abuse."

The committee's Vice Chairman, Noel Torpey (R, Independence), told the committee that it's possible to be fiscally conservative and accept more federal dollars to provide more low-income Missourians with health coverage.

"The majority of the population we're talking about are the working poor," Torpey said.  "If we can help them and also change the system in a better fashion for everyone that's involved in it, I think that's a good policy."

More meetings are scheduled next month, including another two-day round of hearings set for next week, on November 5th and 6th.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

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