A compromise has been reached on the overhaul of Missouri’s Medicaid system and now lawmakers have one day to get one of the biggest bills of the legislative session through the process.

Senator Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph) sponsors SB 577 . He says he feels good about the compromise that came together Thursday after three days of fruitless negotiations between Senate and House conference committee members. The Senate and House approved vastly different bills. Differences must be worked out before MO Health Net can be approved and sent to Governor Blunt.

MO Health Net is a top priority of the governor. It is one of the, if not the, biggest bills of this session. Negotiators say talks stalled until the 6pm Friday deadline drew too near to ignore. The compromise language was put together late Thursday night and early Friday morning as lawmakers worked well into the night on the next-to-last day of the session.

Details of the program will largely be written by the Department of Social Services, but an Oversight Committee will help guide that process. MO Health Net will contain managed care aspects, provide dental and optical benefits and will emphasize wellness. Durable medical equipment will be provided under the state health care for the poor. A scaled down Ticket-to-Work program will be restored and provider reimbursements will be raised.

House sponsor, Rep. Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph), says he’s elated with the compromise, "I feel like we’ve taken a giant step in really transforming the Medicaid program."

Today will decide whether the votes are there to send the compromise on to the governor.


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