Governor Blunt has backed off implementing his Insure Missouri program without legislative approval. That doesn’t mean the program is dead, according to the Speaker of the House.

Blunt proposes the state help more Missourians buy their own health insurance, the concept behind a program called Insure Missouri. The Blunt Administration had argued that approval of MO HealthNet by the legislature last year gave it the go-ahead to create the program, a move that upset many legislators who claimed the administration was overstepping its authority.

House Speaker Rod Jetton, a Republican from Marble Hill, isn’t too critical of his fellow Republican, Governor Blunt, "I think he had a great concept. I think it’s a good direction for us to move as a state."

But Jetton quickly adds that he believes it’s a good idea for the administration work with both the Senate and the House, especially the budget committees, in implementing Insure Missouri. Jetton says Blunt’s decision to not push the program through without legislative approval has calmed down legislators angry the administration didn’t seek their input.

Jetton says there remains plenty of time this legislative session to push through an Insure Missouri bill, if needed. The session ends in mid-May. Jetton says sponsors of legislation need about six weeks to push bills through both chambers. Jetton says administration and legislative negotiators might be able to work out their difference and pave the way for Insure Missouri without formal legislation. 

Download/listen Brent Martin reports (:60 MP3)