December 22, 2014

House committee rejects Medicaid expansion measure (AUDIO)

A House committee has rejected a Democrat proposal to expand Medicaid with federal funding.

Rep. Jeanne Kirkton (D-St. Louis) says Medicaid payments to hospitals will be cut under the current federal plan, and Medicaid expansion would fill those gaps so that small and rural hospitals can survive.

She and co-sponsor of the bill, Rep. Jacob Hummel (D-St. Louis) took a beating at the hearing as the Republican-led committee blasted federal government spending, the deficit, President Barack Obama’s leadership and federal healthcare reform, which they call “Obamacare.”

Rep. Mark Parkinson (R-St. Charles) told Kirkton and Hummel the problem is that there is a big philosphocial difference between the two parties on Medicaid.

“I want to help people that are unable to help themselves,” he says. “I don’t think we should pay for people who are unwilling to help themselves. There’s a big difference.”

After nearly two hours of testimony and questioning, the House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee voted the bill down along party lines, 5-2. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Missouri and the Missouri Hospitals Association testified in favor of the bill.

 Rep. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) will present a bill the GOP is calling Medicaid reform as opposed to Medicaid expansion.

AUDIO: Jessica Machetta reports (1:08)