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MO House Democrats want to restore Medicaid cuts

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – House Democrats in Missouri want to restore Medicaid cuts made nearly three years ago by Governor Matt Blunt.

They're making the issue one of their top priorities for the 2008 legislative session.

House and Senate Democrats were unable to stop the Republican majority from passing Missouri HealthNet during the 2007 regular session.

Governor Blunt's initiative emphasizes wellness and prevention over treating those already ill, and will pay doctors based on performance.

State Rep. Judy Baker (D, Columbia) thinks they can persuade some Republicans to support reinstating Medicaid cuts.

"I think everyone's finally figuring it out, that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and just because you cut people off of Medicaid doesn't necessarily mean that they don't get sick anymore...all that happens is that our hospitals and our providers don't get the payment for those services that they provide," Baker said.

But Deborah Scott, Director of the Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services, thinks restoring Medicaid cuts is a bad idea.

"We need to go forward, not backward...Gov. Blunt has developed a new market-based approach that will bring coverage to nearly 200,000 uninsured Missourians, without a job-killing tax increase," Scott said.

Missouri HealthNet is set to replace the state's Medicaid system next year.

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