House Democrats have announced a health care agenda they say would improve access to services, contain costs, and promote healthier lifestyles to prevent illness. The proposals are part of Democrats’ Moving Missouri Forward legislative agenda for 2006. Part of the plan calls for an effort to head off an approximately $90-Million payment to the federal government as part of the Medicare prescription drug benefit. The Democrats claim that under the new program, the federal government is requiring the state to cover some of the costs. Democrats call this the “clawback.” Democrats are also calling for 5 percent of the money approved for infrastructure and economic development projects each year to make improvements at critical access hospitals – a federal designation for small hospitals for 25 or fewer beds. Another Democratic proposal would require insurers to allow young adults age 18 through 24 who suffer from chronic diseases, such as congenital heart disease, asthma or diabetes, to remain as dependents covered by their parents’ health insurance policies.
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