The state Senate Budget Committee has completed its proposed spending plan for Fiscal Year 2017 and sent it to the full Senate.
Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) has said projected increases in Medicaid spending would take more than all the revenue Missouri is projected to take in, in the year starting July 1, and said that would preclude increases in other state programs.
His committee Tuesday approved a budget that reduced Medicaid spending by approximately $55-million. Senate staff Tuesday afternoon was still putting together totals on how much the plan would reduce and the overall total of proposed spending.
He said the reductions were accomplished by basing the committee’s budget plan on estimates lower than the Department of Health’s budget requests.
“They’re looking for authority to spend a certain amount of money and they’re making various assumptions, and usually the Department always wants to have more money than they really need and so they estimate high,” said Schaefer. “We try and … not estimate low, but estimate what we believe is a more factual number.”
The House, in its $27.1-billion budget plan, added language meant to keep state money from going to Planned Parenthood. The Senate sought to tighten that language and funnel that money to other places Republicans say women can get the same health services, but that don’t provide abortions.
The top Democrat on the budget committee, Senator Kiki Curls (D-Kansas City), objected to diverting all state money from Planned Parenthood.
“It’s one thing if we say we don’t want to provide any money obviously for abortions. It is an entirely other thing saying we would not provide any funding for the valuable services that they provide folks that wouldn’t go to another doctor,” said Curls.
Schaefer says very little of that money goes to Planned Parenthood.
“That money is all shifted over now and will be spent through FQHCs, rural health clinics, and county health departments,” said Schaefer.
The Senate could begin considering the proposed spending plan later this week.