One of the three legislative committees studying Medicaid reform and possible expansion gets a tutorial on how big the job is likely to be. Staff members have presented “Medicaid 101” showing no other program consumes more of the state budget than Medicaid–36% of the $25-billion dollar state budget. The federal healthcare overhaul act is offering the state incentives to add an estimated 268,000 more people to the rolls

Senate accounting director Marga Hoelscher says that’s on top of a program that she describes as already “massive.”

                                    AUDIO: Hoelscher :25

About one in seven Missourians is served by the Medicaid program.  That includes more than 530,000 children, more than 150,000 persons with disabilities, and another 150,000-plus low-income parents or low-income elderly.

Committee chairman Gary Romine of Ste. Genevieve thinks any reform of the program has to emphasize efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

                                  AUDIO: Romine :18

 He wants the committee to make recommendations by mid-December so bills can be introduced for the 20014 session.