Series of Medicaid hearings slated at Capitol

Jefferson City lawmaker chairman of interim committee

Upcoming hearings

The tentative dates, times and topics of the committee’s upcoming hearings are:

Oct. 15, 1 p.m. — Medicaid fraud and services covered.

Oct. 29, 1 p.m. — Managed care, delivery models, Accountable Care Organizations, fees for service and health homes.

Oct. 30, 8 a.m. — Cost sharing, debit cards and anything to turn Medicaid recipients into participants.

Nov. 5, 1 p.m. — Medicaid strategies for the aged, blind and disabled. Also will discuss hospital frequent fliers.

Nov. 6, 8 a.m. — Medicaid eligibility levels.

Missouri legislators are moving forward with an issue that was much debated during the 2013 legislative session — Medicaid.

The House’s interim committee on Medicaid transformation met Thursday to discuss federal Medicaid waivers and Medicaid models that have worked for other states.

Another group, which included legislators as well as residents, toured the state over the summer, holding hearings to gather public testimony regarding Medicaid. That group recently submitted a report to Rep. Jay Barnes’ interim committee on Medicaid transformation to better help the committee devise a plan for the state’s Medicaid system.

Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said the goal of the committee and its hearings is to “get people thinking outside the box on truly transformative measures on Medicaid.”

During the 2013 legislative session, Missouri House Democrats proposed full Medicaid expansion to up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, as outlined in President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The Democrats, as well as Gov. Jay Nixon, pushed the bill, saying it would expand Medicaid coverage to as many as 300,000 Missourians. The bill failed to pass a House committee, even though the expansion would have received full federal funding.

Barnes also filed a Medicaid transformation bill during the session, and while the bill passed one House committee, it failed to pass another. The legislation would have made fewer Missourians eligible for Medicaid and would have allowed those no longer eligible to qualify for subsidies within a state health exchange to help offset the costs of private insurance plans.

During Thursday’s hearing, Barnes outlined The Healthy Indiana Program, as well as Paul Ryan’s Patients’ Choice Act. Rep. Noel Torpey, a Republican legislator from Independence who chaired the group that toured the state over the summer, outlined the Arkansas Model and the Iowa Option.

Barnes said that the outlines are by no means the legislators’ endorsements of the programs.

“It’s talk of how Medicaid might be in the future,” he said. “These are examples of how states are changing the Medicaid program to be more cost-sharing.”

While Tuesday’s hearing was an overview of how Missouri’s Medicaid could transform, upcoming hearings will discuss specific aspects of Medicaid and how Missouri can adapt them to meet the state’s needs.

The hearings will better enable the committee to decide how to move forward with Medicaid during the 2014 legislative session.

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