The Missouri legislature overrode Governor Nixon’s veto of a measure requiring Medicaid users to submit a copay at emergency rooms.

Republican Senator Will Kraus - voter against Medicaid bill

Republican Senator Will Kraus – voted against Medicaid bill

Republican Senator David Sater, the bill’s sponsor, says he noticed overuse of ER’s while working in a hospital as a pharmacist.  “There is an over usage of the emergency room for common things like a cold or allergies or things like that, (which) could wait a few hours later to go to the urgent care center, or an hour later.”

The bill also allows health care providers to charge penalties for Medicaid users who fail to show up for appointments more than once.

Democratic Senator Jamilah Nasheed expressed outrage, claiming the measure punishes less fortunate and low income people.  “This bill is not even worth the paper it’s printed on” said Nasheed.  “And I will continue to stand up and say to all of you who deny access to hundreds and hundreds of people here in the state of Missouri, how dare you.”

Nasheed also slammed Republicans for refusing to allow Medicaid expansion in Missouri.  “You allow for billions and billions of dollars, federal dollars to lay on the table.  And you sit here today asking us to override the governor’s veto…is appalling.”

Expansion of Medicaid would be implemented under one of President Obama’s signature policies, the Affordable Care Act.  Republican controlled legislatures in a number of states, as in Missouri, have resisted Medicaid expansion.  In Missouri, extending the program would cover an additional 300,000 low income people with health care benefits.  The state would be responsible for up to 10 percent of it’s cost.

The bill affecting Missouri Medicaid recipients passed the Senate mostly on party lines with one Republican, Will Kraus, voting against the override.  In the House, the tally was 110-45 to override, also with the the super majority GOP largely voting as a block.