MO HealthNet Reshaped
Debate on Senate Bill 577 heated up as legislators talked about the complex issue of state healthcare and offered more than a dozen new amendments.
"Frankly, we titled the bill MO HealthNet, but to that nearly one million people it's simply no health net at all," Sen. Wes Shoemyer said.
Senators pushed for several amendments. One would prevent insurance companies from paying the same claim twice, another would add public input to the process, and still another would focus on local, preventative care. Since Medicaid was cut two years ago, the state must create health improvement plans for Missourians.
"I think if there's any one central issue, it's the question being raised by some that we should just automatically throw back into the system people who were eliminated before," Sen. John Loudon said.
Some say they won't be satisfied until they've had time to think it through.
"The debate that we had in committee, or the discussion we had in committee, a $6 billion program was three hours. So we were rearranging $2 billion an hour of how we're delivering systems," Shoemyer said.
But lawmakers say they are optimistic about the results.
"I just think if we can get this done and if both sides can work on it, we'll have the single best system in the country when it comes to providing the health care that they need," Loudon said.
After the Senate approves the bill, it goes to the house for approval. If passed, the act asks for the MO HealthNet Program to provide health care services no later than July 1, 2008.