Nixon takes Medicaid expansion campaign to Republican state senators

Apr 9, 2013
Originally published on April 10, 2013 7:14 am

Missouri Senate Republicans were visited Tuesday by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon.

As he did last week with House Republicans, Nixon pitched his proposal to expand Medicaid to an additional 260,000 Missourians next year.  He told reporters afterwards that it went well, and that much of the discussion focused on the alternate Medicaid package moving through the Missouri House.

“I did talk to them about that most probably being the opportunity here to get reforms this year," Nixon said.  "You’re seeing solid realization at how important it is to get this done, and to get it done this year.”

House Bill 700 would expand Medicaid to an additional 180,000 Missourians while removing 44,000 children from the Medicaid rolls.  It would also let private insurers compete to cover Medicaid recipients and offer incentives for maintaining good health.  The St. Louis Beacon reports, though, that the plan faces strong opposition from some Republican Senators, including President Pro-tem Tom Dempsey (R, St. Charles).

Governor Nixon called Tuesday's discussions with Senate Republicans open, respectful and solid.  Dempsey agreed, but says they remain opposed to expanding Medicaid.

“Right now, I just want to have the Governor’s comments, allow those to sink in, and then over the next five weeks we’ll continue to have discussions, both in caucus and potentially on the floor of the Senate,” Dempsey said.

In addition, Governor Nixon spoke by phone Tuesday to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about the reforms being sought by House Republicans.  A statement released by the Governor’s office called the conversation “positive and productive,” but provided no indication if the Obama Administration would consider the alternate Medicaid proposal.  The statement reads in full:

“The Secretary and I had a positive and productive conversation this afternoon about strengthening and reforming Medicaid. It is clear that moving forward and strengthening Medicaid will give us the flexibility we need to give Missourians the health system they deserve: one that protects taxpayers, rewards work, promotes personal responsibility and brings the tax dollars they send to Washington back here to Missouri."

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

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