Mo. senators vote to stay out of Medicaid dispute

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri senators have rebuffed a legislative effort to intervene in a contract dispute involving the state’s Medicaid system.

The state recently awarded new Medicaid managed care contracts under a policy change that capped the number of participating insurers at three, instead of allowing an unlimited number of companies.

One of the losing bidders, Molina Healthcare Inc., currently covers about 80,000 Medicaid recipients and has sued seeking to invalidate the new contracts.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer had inserted language benefiting Molina in Missouri’s proposed budget. Schaefer’s language would require the state to contract with all managed care companies that met the state’s bidding criteria.

But senators voted 21-11 early Wednesday to remove that wording after Sen. Jason Crowell complained it was inappropriate for lawmakers to meddle in contracts.

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