Missouri health organizations express concern over Medicaid

2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago July 10, 2017 Jul 10, 2017 Monday, July 10 2017 Monday, July 10, 2017 2:44:00 PM CDT in News
By: Meg Hilling, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - As the U.S. Senate returns from its recess, several medical organizations in Missouri voiced concerns about the impact changes to Medicaid could have on health care for Missourians in the months to come.

Missouri Health Partnership hosted a media conference call on Monday with the Missouri Budget Project, the Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and AARP's deputy state director, in order to urge the U.S. Senate to "protect health care for Missourians."

This comes less than two weeks after a nonpartisan congressional budget office released an analysis showing the Senate's GOP health bill proposal, announced in June, would cut federal spending on the Medicaid program by $772 billion over the next decade, according to a report from USA Today. 

According to numbers provided by MHP, about one in five Missourians receives health services through Medicaid.

Amy Blouin, executive director of the Missouri Budget Project, expressed concerns about the impact changes to Medicaid would have on the rural population in Missouri, as numerous rural hospitals and clinics throughout the U.S. are financially dependent upon Medicaid to operate. 

"Those hospitals and health care providers, clinics, mental health providers and so forth, all depend on the financial stability of Medicaid, that would be compromised under both the house and senate versions of the health care bill," Blouin said.

"The House version of the bill would require Missouri to increase it's cost by 3 billion dollars over the first 10 years. The Senate version actually has a more drastic cap on in, which would increase the cost to Missouri even more," Blouin.

Jay Hardenbrook, Deputy State Director of AARP, is doubtful of a middle ground being found.

"I don't think you find a middle ground on the legislation they (Senate) are currently considering or on the legislation that was passed by the house," Hardenbrook said.

KOMU 8 reached out to Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, who acknowledged in a statement that the Senate proposal had some flaws, but still looked to help Americans overall.

"Obamacare has left Missouri families with higher costs, fewer options, and less access to quality health care. In our state, 97 counties have only one insurer willing to offer plans on the exchanges this year and premiums are up, on average, 145 percent since 2013," Blunt said."The status quo is unsustainable. The Senate draft health care legislation is not perfect, but it takes some important steps to help families and small businesses that are struggling under Obamacare. My hope is that we will be able to find common ground on solutions that address the needs of Missourians and create a more stable and reliable health care system."

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