Senate Approves HealthNet
The Senate approved the program called Missouri HealthNet and that is considered a major policy victory for Governor Matt Blunt..
If the House gives it the okay, Missouri HealthNet will replace the state's Medicaid system.
There's a component of this bill that encourages healthier lifestyles, but this adds some controversy too. Critics said instead of including 100,000 people cut from Medicaid rolls in 2005, Missouri HealthNet promotes a points-type system for those seeking health care, dependent on the notion they're already living healthy lifestyles.
"This bill, I believe falls far short of what the people, our constituents are expecting us to do," Democratic Senator Joan Bray said. " Every time I go home I get asked: 'Are all those people who got cut off Medicaid gonna get restored?' And I can't say 'yes.' Because this bill doesn't do it.
Missouri Association for Social Welfare agrees with Bray.
Bob Quinn, director of Missouri Association for Social Welfare, said it would have been an accomplishment to find a cheaper way to include the 100,000 who were cut before. Instead, he said, while this plan is cheaper, it fails to include some of those who need coverage the most.
Currently there are more than 800,000 people on Medicaid in Missouri.