The Senate Health and Mental Health Committee has heard testimony on legislation to transform the Medicaid system to the new Missouri Health Net, which supporters are promising will lead to an improvement in the delivery of services to the needy.
Senator Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph) sponsors SB 577 , the bill creating the new program. Shields says there are three areas of health care reform that must be addressed: eligibility, reform and delivery of care, and reducing the number of uninsured Missourians. He points out this legislation focuses on the reform and delivery of care through the creation of a new and improved Medicaid program called Missouri HealthNet.
Missouri HealthNet recipients would receive health benefit cards that would accumulate points through participation in health improvement activities such as smoking cessation or weight loss programs. The points could be used for such things as over-the-counter drugs or other items designed to improve a recipient’s health. In addition, every recipient would be given the opportunity to find a Health Care Advocate within the health care system – someone who would help the recipient navigate his or her way through the complexities of the system.
Only a handful of those testifying on the bill voiced opposition to the legislation. Among them, Pam Byars of Fortuna, who has a teenage daughter who suffers from cerebral palsy. Byars does not believe benefits should be tied to behavior or lifestyle choices.
The hearing ended with the panel taking no action on the legislation.