Missouri health advocates work to expand Medicaid

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Health Advocacy Alliance (M.H.A.A.) will meet Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the future of Medicaid legislation in Missouri.

Lhakpa Tsering, the Executive Director for the M.H.A.A., said the two day conference will focus on the results and goals of previous and future last legislative sessions.

"We will be discussing how the 2016 legislative session went, which in my opinion was not as great as we wanted. But, we will also be looking forward to talk about what we want to achieve during the coming legislative session," Tsering said.

The theme for the M.H.A.A. 2016 conference is “Medicaid and Public Assistance…..Issues Du Jour.” Tsering said he believes these are the most pressing issues for Missourians relating to health care.

"Medicaid is a big issue in our state. There are a lot of people who can't get jobs because of their health and if they can't get a job they have no money to pay for their health care. So how can they get better to get a job? This is the problem we are facing," Tsering said.

Brian Colby, the Director of Policy and Outreach for the M.H.A.A., said the convention will also focus on mental health issues.

"While we do believe Medicaid is a big issue in the state, we acknowledge it is not the only issue for Missourians. I want to make it known that we are also focusing on mental health issues. The governor said he was planning to expand that part of the budget and we want to make sure we are prepared," Colby said.

The two day conference will also honor Dr. Joe Parks, the Director of MO HealthNet and Missouri Medicaid, with the Dr. James R. Kimmey Lifetime Achievement Award.