Work will continue on a House Republican proposal that would reform Medicaid and expand eligibility in Missouri, despite Senate Republicans reaffirming their opposition to Medicaid expansion. A House Committee will hold its third hearing on the proposal, HB 1901 sponsored by Representative Noel Torpey (R-Independence), early Tuesday in the basement of the Capitol.

“There is no path for Medicaid expansion to occur in Missouri this year,” said Brad Lager (R-Savannah) on Monday, one of five Republican Senators who said they would block any attempt to expand Medicaid eligibility this session.

“If we’re going to allow five people to run the state, that’s unfortunate,” says Torpey. He agrees that expansion by itself will not succeed in the Republican-controlled Missouri legislature.

“That was evident last year,” Torpey tells Missourinet, “but if people want reform and truly want reform, we’re going to have to do some type of eligibility changes, and so they’re linked together.”

Torpey says the Senators’ comments won’t cause him to do anything differently.

“Things can change in politics in a day, let alone eight weeks,” says Torpey.

House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) says the opposition to expansion is not limited to the Senate.

“The signals I’m receiving from the (House Republican) caucus and the signals I’m receiving from the Senate are that expansion is simply something that the legislature does not have much of an appetite for this year,” Jones says. “They’re very concerned about the long-term effects on the budget, and I share those concerns.”

Torpey thinks stripping out the expansion components of his legislation would not be successful either.

“I really think it’s a partnership,” says Torpey of reform and expansion of Medicaid. “We get both or nothing.”

The hearing Tuesday will focus on three aspects of Torpey’s bill, including increased eligibility in some populations.

Earlier stories:

Hearing highlights work requirement, premium in House Republican Medicaid plan

House Republican files Medicaid expansion, reform proposal