(Missourinet St. Joseph affiliate KFEQ contributed to this story)
Missouri’s powerful Senate Appropriations Committee chair is optimistic that a deal can be reached to resolve issues involving the federal reimbursement allowance (FRA), which is a key funding mechanism for Missouri Medicaid.
During a Friday interview with Missourinet in his Capitol office, Governor Mike Parson (R) emphasized that he won’t call a special session, unless legislative leaders in both chambers and the two budget chairs present an FRA plan to him that will pass.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Dan Hegeman (R-Cosby) spoke to Missourinet St. Joseph affiliate KFEQ on Wednesday, after a St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce event.
“And we’ll continue to talk with the governor and the senators involved and see if we can find a path forward (for FRA). We’re not there yet, but we will get there,” Hegeman tells KFEQ’s Brent Martin.
FRA is set to expire on September 30. While the Missouri House approved an extension this year, the Senate did not, due to a legislative dispute over abortion.
State Sen. Karla May (D-St. Louis) and other Senate Democrats have warned that Missouri faces the possibility of losing billions of dollars for Medicaid, since FRA wasn’t extended.
Chairman Hegeman understands Governor Parson’s insistence that legislative leaders present an FRA plan to him that will pass, before he calls a special session. Hegeman says negotiations are underway.
“You know I think the urgency to get this done and to fill the $3 billion hole that could be created in our budget is necessary for us to be able to work out these differences and move forward,” says Hegeman.
Governor Parson warned Friday that because lawmakers didn’t approve the FRA extension, he’ll have to “go down the restriction route.” Senator Hegeman’s comments in St. Joseph indicate there’s been progress since Friday.
House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith (R-Carthage) says an FRA extension is critical to funding Missouri Medicaid, and that he’s committed to working with the governor and lawmakers on a solution.
It’s ultimately up to Governor Parson whether to call a special session on FRA or any other issue.
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