Lawmakers in the Missouri Senate want to get to routine legislation that would help to cover a significant share of the state’s Medicaid costs. The federal reimbursement allowance bill, also known as the FRA, taxes Missouri hospitals to help with those expenses. About $4.5 billion in federal aid are at stake if the bill does not pass.

Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, D-Independence, is surprised the issue has not been brought up for debate.

“It seems like there’s a lot of things that have gotten a lot of time on the floor that are way less impactful than the FRA,” Rizzo told reporters. “I tend to think that it’s time. I mean, look, they (Republicans) came into session as that was the number one bill on the calendar, right? I mean, they themselves put it on the calendar as the top bill and then decided to put it on the back burner, I guess, indefinitely.”

Members of the far-right Freedom Caucus do not want funding to go toward funding abortions. 

“The Hippocratic oath, the pillar of healthcare, is to do no harm,” said Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville. “Abortion is harm to the little child that is murder within the womb. We have a charge by the people who elected us to protect that life at all costs and not fund facilities that enable that as we’ve seen through Project Veritas videos.”

Rizzo said that if the bill does not pass, state funding is at risk.

“Everyone in this chamber knows how essential and critical the FRA is to healthcare, especially in rural Missouri and really and truly to the state’s budget being solvent,” Rizzo said. “We’re ready and willing to have that debate and if we have to sleep in our offices again to do it, we will.”  

Most abortions are banned in Missouri, and Medicaid funding to cover abortions is also banned. 

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