Legislative budget leaders say Governor Jay Nixon (D) wants far too much money in the mid-year budget.
Senate Budget Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) says the legislature is being asked to approve more money in the supplemental budget than he’s ever seen – $496-million dollars on top of the $26-billion the state is already spending in the current fiscal year.
The largest part of that increase is to Medicaid, and acting budget director Dan Haug says the largest part of that is in pharmacy costs.
“We’re seeing cost increases in the specialty drugs that we use. We’re also seeing the generic drugs and drugs that have been around a long time, we’re seeing the prices go up,” said Haug.
Schaefer accuses the governor of growing state spending using the supplemental – a budget that gets less attention and public debate.
“It’s done in a way where he spends the money, and then says, ‘Well now you have to give me the supplemental and grow this. If not, pharmacists, doctors, nurses, other healthcare providers, they’re not going to get paid for services that they’ve already provided in the last six months,” said Schaefer.
Nixon administration leaders also say more people have signed up for Medicaid than expected.