State lawmakers failed to act this year on any of the recommendations made by the Medicaid Reform Commission, but just might get to them this year. Senator Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph) chaired the Medicaid Reform Commission. It met throughout the summer of 2005, settling on recommendations it forwarded to the legislature. The legislature, though, didn’t act on the recommendations. Shields says the commission wants a state health plan to be consumer driven, with much moved to the private sector, while the Blunt Administration has focused on changing internal state operations. The governor has yet to unveil details of his plan. Shields believes the two proposals can be reconciled and must be this year, since the legislature has placed a 2008 sunset on the current Medicaid program. Shields says it’s unacceptable to have up to 20% of Missourians without health care coverage. He says everyone at the Capitol agrees things must change; now it’s up to the various sides in the issue to come to agreement on a proposal. Shields says the five month legislative session is plenty of time to create a new health care system.
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