Bipartisan legislation extending a critical funding mechanism for Missouri’s Medicaid program will head to the House Budget Committee Tuesday morning in Jefferson City.

Missouri House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith (R-Carthage) speaks at the Capitol in Jefferson City on May 5, 2021 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith (R-Carthage) tells Missourinet that his committee will meet Tuesday at 11. Based on the turnout at Thursday’s Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the FRA, a large audience is likely.

After more than ten hours of behind-the-scenes negotiations at the Missouri Capitol all day and night Friday, the Senate voted 28-5 early Saturday morning to approve the FRA extension. The vote came at about 12:30 a.m, as heavy rain fell on the Capital City.

The bipartisan bill extends the Federal Reimbursement Allowance (FRA) for three years. The bill also extends the pharmacy tax and the ground ambulance service reimbursement allowance.

State Sen. Lauren Arthur (D-Kansas City) praises the final Senate bill.

“At 12:30 AM, the MO Senate passed a renewal of the FRA to fund Medicaid. After days of intense debate and negotiations, we got a bill that neither restricted birth control nor defunded healthcare providers. Proud of our bipartisan group of women senators working together,” Senator Arthur tweeted Saturday.

State Sen. Bob Onder (R-Lake St. Louis), one of the five senators who voted no, blasted the bill on the Senate floor early Saturday morning. He wanted to defund Planned Parenthood.

“This bill is an embarrassment, it’s a betrayal of our pro-life principles and it keeps the spigot of money to Planned Parenthood going for three more years. Thank you Mr. President,” Senator Onder said on the floor, referring to the lieutenant governor presiding in the chamber.

The other four senators who voted “no” on the final bill were State Sens. Eric Burlison (R-Battlefield), Andrew Koenig (R-Manchester), Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove) and Rick Brattin (R-Harrisonville).

Missouri’s nursing homes, hospitals and pharmacies have urged lawmakers to quickly approve the FRA extension. The Missouri Health Care Association testifies that 70 percent of Missouri’s 23,000 nursing home residents are on Medicaid and that nursing homes will close, if FRA isn’t renewed. The Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) and Missouri Pharmacy Association have similar worries.

FRA expires on September 30. Governor Mike Parson (R) has warned state lawmakers that payments from Missouri’s Medicaid program would be reduced by $1.5 billion, if FRA isn’t extended.

The governor tweeted Sunday about the issue.

“Working with House and Senate leadership, we have found a path to legally and effectively hold any abortion provider accountable or lose their ability to operate while not jeopardizing vital health care funding and the success of our economy. I have and always will be pro-life, but my administration also has a duty to protect those already in the state’s care. Standing strong for the unborn while finding a path to move the FRA forward is critical,” Governor Parson tweeted.

The governor has also warned that failure to extend the FRA would cost Missouri about $591 million in fiscal year 2022, and would cause cuts to education, infrastructure and workforce development.

The full House will return to Jefferson City Wednesday, and they’ll gavel-in that morning at 10. If the House approves the same language as the Senate, the FRA bill would go to the governor’s desk. If the House makes changes, the bill would then go to a Senate-House conference committee for negotiations, before heading back to each chamber.

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