The governor has called a special legislative session to extend a key funding mechanism for Missouri’s Medicaid program, warning that failure to extend the FRA would cost Missouri about $591 million in fiscal year 2022. The FRA is the state’s Federal Reimbursement Allowance.
Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan) says lawmakers have been working on FRA nonstop since the final day of session on May 14.
“I think working with some of the folks (legislators) that obviously had some trouble, some of the roadblocks we ran into along the way, I think we’ve kind of made some breakthroughs. So therefore again working with the governor, we believe we have a plan to move forward,” Schatz says.
While the Missouri House approved an FRA extension this year, the Senate did not, due to a legislative dispute about birth control. The GOP governor and lawmakers in both parties have warned that Missouri faces the possibility of losings billions of dollars for Medicaid, since FRA wasn’t extended.
FRA is set to expire on September 30.
Pro Tem Schatz tells Missourinet he anticipates that a single bill will be filed Wednesday and referred to committee for a Thursday hearing, with the full Senate voting on Friday. He’s optimistic that lawmakers can get the FRA bill to the governor’s desk by June 30, which is the final day of the state’s fiscal year.
“Hopefully a hearing on Thursday and hopefully getting the Senate’s work done by the end of the week would be a very optimistic goal if we can get that accomplished,” says Schatz.
He says some rules may have to be waived, to work quickly. The Pro Tem also confirms it’s possible that the Missouri Senate will be in session for a very rare weekend session.
Governor Mike Parson (R) is warning that payments from Missouri’s Medicaid program would be reduced by $1.5 billion, if the FRA isn’t extended.
Under the state Constitution, Missouri governors “write the call” for special sessions. Governor Parson also wants lawmakers to prohibit what he calls abortifacient drugs and devices, which Schatz defines as anything that would cause or induce an abortion.
Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo (D-Independence) is unhappy about the special session call, saying birth control is included in it. He’s calling on lawmakers to pass what he calls a “clean FRA.” Leader Rizzo tweeted at Missourinet on Tuesday, saying that his caucus “will not be voting to suspend rules that would allow Republicans to more quickly push through a bill blocking birth control for women.”
The special session will begin Wednesday at noon in Jefferson City, although little will happen today, except for the bill filing.
“Let me be clear, now is a time that demands leadership among legislators and not an opportunity to play games with billions of dollars and millions of livelihoods in pursuit of narrow political interests,” Governor Parson said Tuesday, in a written statement.
The governor warns that failure to extend the FRA will cause cuts to programs like education, workforce development and infrastructure.
Parson is also calling on lawmakers to extend the pharmacy tax and the ground ambulance service reimbursement allowance.
Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s interview with Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan), which was recorded on June 22, 2021:
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