The Missouri Senate is expected to approve the replacement for the Medicaid program today despite concerns it is too vague and abdicates legislative authority.
The MoHealthNet bill is the first of the bills that will redefine the state program of healthcare for the poor. Senate sponsor Charlie Shields of St. Joseph says he could have put together a 300-page, highly-detailed bill that only he would understand, or he could have sponsored what he has—an 80-page bill that gives directions to state agencies that will administer the program. He says he wants to describe a high-quality watch but he doesn’t want to build it.
One of his critics, Senator Joan Bray of St. Louis says the legislature is delegating too much authority to the state bureaucracy and leaving too much power in the hands of a legislative committee that reviews rules the state agencies make.
Senators added more than a dozen changes to the bill, but Shields says none of the changes significantly change the direction he wants the program to take.