The Missouri House voted Wednesday to give final approval to separate pieces of legislation, extending a critical funding mechanism for Missouri Medicaid and another that defunds Planned Parenthood.
The FRA legislation is heading to the governor’s desk.
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) tells Capitol reporters that she doesn’t expect the Senate to take up the Planned Parenthood bill.
The bipartisan vote to extend FRA was 140-13, while the Planned Parenthood vote was 109-45.
State Rep. Nick Schroer (R-O’Fallon) and House Speaker Pro Tem (R-O’Fallon) both called for defunding Planned Parenthood, saying that the unborn must be protected.
State Rep. Sara Walsh (R-Ashland) agrees, and she quoted former President Ronald Reagan on the House floor on Wednesday morning: “everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”
Planned Parenthood supporters like State Reps. Kevin Windham (D-Hillsdale) and Keri Ingle (D-Lee’s Summit) say Planned Parenthood provides critical health care services across the state, especially to women and to the poor.
State Rep. Ashley Aune (D-Kansas City) delivered a House floor speech on Wednesday, critical of Representative Schroer’s efforts. She also criticizes religious-affiliated crisis pregnancy centers, saying they are dangerous.
Missouri Right to Life has been urging House members to defund Planned Parenthood.
The FRA debate was much shorter and was bipartisan, as lawmakers in both parties note the clock is ticking on extending FRA. The Federal Reimbursement Allowance (FRA) is set to expire on September 30, with the fiscal year starting Thursday.
The Missouri Senate approved an FRA extension bill by a 28-5 vote, early Saturday morning.
21 statewide Missouri health groups called for the Missouri House to pass the FRA extension bill that the Senate passed, which is sponsored by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Dan Hegeman (R-Cosby). The Missouri Pharmacy Association (MPA) and others say renewing FRA costs Missouri zero, but letting it expire would collapse the entire health care system.
MPA’s Henrio Thelemaque warned that rural Missouri pharmacies will close, if lawmakers don’t act quickly.
“Without the FRA, a lot of pharmacies will shutter, especially in the rural areas, in the Bootheel and southwest Missouri,” Thelemaque testified Tuesday in Jefferson City.
The Pharmacy Association notes the FRA provides about half of the funding for health care services for Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens. Governor Mike Parson (R) agrees, warning that failure to extend the FRA would cost Missouri $591 million in fiscal year 2022.
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