Medicaid expansion | St. Louis Public Radio

Medicaid expansion

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 3, 2013 - The reduction of health programs at ConnectCare will go beyond important specialty medical services and will extend to the crucial transportation network that has made it possible for some patients to get treatment at the site at 5535 Delmar Blvd.

Health planners said they will be scrambling to figure out which medical systems can provide specialty care to the more than 10,000 patients being displaced by ConnectCare’s decision. The planners promise to find transportation to alternative facilities.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 14, 2013: 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, Aug. 12, 2013 - 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.

The program is Gateway to Better Health, which provides basic medical insurance to 25,000 area residents, including 21,000 who eventually had been expected to be enrolled in an expanded Medicaid program in Missouri. Coordinated by the Regional Health Commission, the Gateway program was supposed to end on Dec. 31, when Medicaid expansion took effect.

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, July 9, 2013 - 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, June 11, 2013 - 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: 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, May 28, 2013: 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, May 21, 2013: 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…”

Nixon's letter comes a day after the state's Department of Social Service chief, Alan Freeman, announced he is stepping down. Last week, the official in charge of the state's Medicaid program also quit.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 18, 2013 - 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.

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, April 30, 2013 - Save it, spend it or give it back? That, in essence, is the growing debate in the Missouri Capitol as legislators are monitoring the state’s apparently improving income picture, which could result in a budget surplus when this fiscal year ends June 30.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 25, 2013 - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon contended today that the state Senate was jeopardizing the public’s safety by cutting out $21 million in federal homeland security grants distributed to hundreds of local law enforcement agencies.

But the Republican senator responsible for the cut later accused the governor, a Democrat, of engaging in “sequester-type drama’’ to avoid dealing with the legislative disputes that prompted the Senate action.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 10, 2013 - 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,  April 10, 2013 - Amid 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.

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, April 9, 2013 -  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: 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, April 8, 2013 - 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.

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, April 3, 2013 - After meeting privately with House Republicans, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon indicated that he agreed with some of the GOP's proposed changes in the state’s Medicaid program – provided that they go along with his proposed expansion.

So far, Republicans have been opposed to the expansion requirements in the federal Affordable Care Act, although business groups and the Missouri Hospital Association side with Nixon in favor. Expansion is voluntary, but certain requirements must be met to receive the federal money, which would cover all of the expansion costs for the first three years and then at least 90 percent thereafter.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 2, 2013 -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, March 15, 2013 - Branson, Mo., gets plenty of good press for being a magnet for millions of visitors who love country music, specialty shops and other amenities in the southwest corner of the state. But the town drew a different sort of attention to itself last month when its Chamber of Commerce endorsed Gov. Jay Nixon’s controversial push to expand Missouri’s Medicaid program.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 14, 2013 - Before leaving the state Capitol for a one-week recess, the state Senate’s Republican leaders have issued a joint statement declaring, in effect, that there’s no way they will support an expansion of Medicaid.

Among other things, the leaders – including Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles – say they don’t trust the federal government to pay its share of the costs. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government is to pay all the costs of the Medicaid expansion for three years, and then at least 90 percent thereafter.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 13,2013: 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.

The chamber's state president, Dan Mehan, emphasized at a news conference today at the organization’s Jefferson City office that it continues to oppose the federal Affordable Care Act — but, given the fact the act is going to be implemented anyway, failure to expand Medicaid hurts business.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 5, 2013 - When Gov. Jay Nixon decided to visit the Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center to make a case for expanding Medicaid, few people in the audience were more pleased than Dr. Roy Wilson, the center’s medical director. He says the visit helped to shed more light on the fact that facilities like his often lack the money for services to head off the adverse consequences of being mentally ill and uninsured.

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