House Committee Concludes Medicaid Hearings

A committee formed by the Missouri House of Representatives to obtain citizen input on Medicaid has concluded that the program should be reformed and expanded. The 52 member House Citizens and Legislators Working Group on Medicaid Eligibility and Reform held meetings throughout the state this summer. The Committee chairman, State Rep. Noel Torpey (R-Independence), said the report should help to move Medicaid legislation forward in next year’s session.

Expanding Medicaid has come to the forefront in state legislatures in response to a new federal initiative that offers greater federal matching dollars to cover more working parents and lower income single individuals.

The input received from citizens appears to vindicate the approach taken by State Rep. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City), who sponsored legislation this past session that included both reform elements and some expansion of Medicaid to include more working parents. The Missouri Catholic Conference supported Rep. Barnes’ HB 700, stating in committee testimony that the bill affirmed two basic principles of Catholic teaching: the need for personal responsibility and care of one’s family; and the duty to help those who cannot help themselves.

Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that provides health coverage to lower-income individuals, including those with disabilities, the elderly, and children. Few lower income parents are presently eligible because of eligibility guidelines that allow only those with incomes at or below about 19% of the federal poverty level to participate.
Posted: September 13, 2013

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