Missouri dodges a $2-Billion bullet. State officials announced today they have reached an agreement with the federal government to resolve claims against it totalling $2.2 Billion. The claims arose as the federal government challenged how Missouri ran its Medicaid program. Negotiations for the past 18 months ended today with the federal government agreeing to drop its claim against the state for assurances federal officials will be allowed to review any new funding programs. Missouri Department of Social Services Director Kathy Martin expressed relief, saying the state Medicaid program would have been gutted if the state were forced to follow through with the reimbursement. Federal officials objected to Missouri’s use of so-called provider taxes levied against hospitals and nursing homes. Federal officials had accused Missouri of simply charging the tax to leverage additional federal funds while then reimbursing those taxed. They questioned its legality, but negotiations satisfied federal officials who dropped their objections.