August 1, 2014

House members pleased with Nixon call for joint Medicaid hearing

Governor Jay Nixon wants to meet with the members of House and Senate committees digging into Medicaid expansion and reform.

Governor Jay Nixon

Governor Jay Nixon

The Governor says as the House and Senate interim committees on Medicaid reform and expansion wrap up their hearings, he wants to discuss with their members how to proceed on those issues. He has sent those legislators a letter inviting them to a joint session November 26 at the Governor’s Office Building in Jefferson City.

Missourinet will cover that hearing.

Click here to see the Governor’s invitation (pdf)

The Chairman of the House Interim Committee on Medicaid Transformation, Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City), says the invitation is a good idea and an encouraging step.

“I think he wants to talk about the whole gamut of issues that both committees have talked about … Medicaid transformation, ways to improve the delivery system for healthcare to Missourians at low income levels, I think he wants to talk about eligibility levels and he wants to talk about how we can save money for taxpayers.”

Representative Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) calls the meeting, “Absolutely critical. Whatever we pass, the Governor’s office … the administration … will have to implement, and they have a lot more specific information on all the technical aspects of this and on the economic and monetary aspects of this, so to be actively engaged with the governor on a discussion about what things to put in or how to structure them is essential.”

Kelly says he’s anxious to hear what the Governor has to say.

“We know his position over the last year. He’s been unequivocal about his support for the economic benefits of expansion, and I expect that he is not going to change on that … we already know that … but I’m mostly interested in the nuts and bolts stuff.”

Kelly doesn’t know whether the call for a joint session is any indication whether the Governor has shifted his position regarding Republican proposals to reform Medicaid that would require federal waivers to be enacted.

He tells Missourinet, “There’s one big question. That’s whether to expand (Medicaid eligibilty) to 138 percent (of the federal poverty level). Either you do or you don’t there. That’s not one where you can do something in the middle. Once you do that I think all the rest of it is negotiable.”

A Twitter account for Governor Jay Nixon on Tuesday (@GovJayNixon) tweeted: “Health care reform the Missouri way will mean better outcomes for patients & better returns for taxpayers.”

Meanwhile, Barnes’ committee will discuss the issue of eligibilty in a hearing beginning at 8:00 Wednesday in the basement of the Capitol. Its final hearing is slated for November 19. The Senate Interim Committee of Medicaid Transformation and Reform is next scheduled to meet November 13.