Gov. Mike Parson has had enough. He has given the Missouri Legislature a deadline of noon Tuesday to reach a deal on a healthcare tax extension proposal that helps to fund a significant portion of Missouri’s Medicaid program.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson visits with attendees at a medical expert luncheon on June 2, 2021 at the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City (photo courtesy of the governor’s Flickr page)

If they don’t find a compromise, Parson says he will freeze $722 million in spending in Missouri’s upcoming state budget. The long list of priorities that would be short changed include higher education, K-12 education, foster care and adoption services, as well as care for the elderly and developmentally disabled.

During a press conference today, Parson said the taxes would provide $591 million to fund the state’s Medicaid program in the coming fiscal year and $788 million in Fiscal Year 2023. Those amounts would bring in federal matching funds, leaving the state without $1.52 billion in the coming year and more than $2 billion in FY 2023.

Lawmakers failed to pass the routine tax extension, known as the Federal Reimbursement Allowance or FRA, during the regular session. The Missouri House passed the proposal, but the measure died in the Senate the finals days of the session.

The holdup was due to some conservative members attempting to ban Medicaid coverage for certain forms of birth control. Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, led the charge. Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, has also been a vocal supporter of the effort.

During today’s press conference, Parson called out members of his own party.

“Let me be clear, I am pro-life. I have supported pro-life measures my whole career and always will,” said Parson. “However, narrow political interests cannot be allowed to hold hostage vital healthcare funding and the success of our economy. For those who want to move the goal post yet again, know that you and you alone will own this and the devastating effects on Missourians and our economy if the FRA is not extended. While House and Senate leadership, Republican legislators and myself are united in the fight to protect life, there is no need to jeopardize our strong economy and thousands of livelihoods to have a fight that erodes the trust Missourians have placed in us to lead.”

Needless to say, the governor’s words are not embraced by some other Republican members.

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