A House committee set up to find compromise on a Medicaid fraud bill has held the first of at least four hearings on the subject, and it appears as though compromise will not come easy. At issue is a House effort to restore part of the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities program. Governor Matt Blunt has said he won’t call a special legislative session to pass a MAWD bill unless there is a companion bill on Medicaid fraud – something he and the Senate want. Doctor Jerry Kennett, the President of the Missouri State Medical Association, told a Capitol hearing the Medicaid fraud bill that’s been proposed would have a negative impact on doctors who would have to deal with additional hassles. But Mike Ditmore, Director of the State’s Division of Medical Services, believes it is essential to have a Medicaid fraud bill to cut down on cheating. At least three more hearings – one in Kansas City, one in St. Louis, and one in Springfield – will be held in the coming weeks. House Republicans have expressed concerns about the MAWD bill and the fraud bill being linked, saying that while MAWD would bring about 3,000 more people into the Medicaid system, the threat of legal action from the fraud bill would lead to more doctors withdrawing from the program.
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