State Senate leader pushes for changes to Medicaid
By Bill Raack, KWMU
St. Louis – The president pro tem of the Missouri Senate said replacing the state's Medicaid system will be a top priority of the legislative session that begins Wednesday.
Republican Senator Michael Gibbons of Kirkwood says a broad-based package of health care reform will focus on empowering individuals and moving away from big providers and big insurers.
But he said if there is a budget surplus, as has been projected, it won't go toward the new health care system for the poor and uninsured.
"I don't think that it's necessarily additional money necessary to make this system work," Gibbons said. "We've got to root out the fraud. We've got to make this more efficient, effective health care system and we're not trying to reduce the expenditures but we're trying to control the rate of growth."
Gibbons' counterpart in the Senate, Democrat Maida Coleman of St. Louis, said any surplus is the result of cuts to Medicaid, and the extra money should go toward health care for the state's poor.