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Missouri Republicans Outline 'Commonsense Conservative' Medicaid Alternative


A long-promised Republican alternative to Medicaid expansion was filed today in the Missouri House.

House Bill 700 is being touted as “market-based Medicaid" -- under the bill, private insurers would compete to provide coverage for Medicaid recipients, and those recipients could get cash incentives for taking care of their health and avoiding costly medical procedures.  But it would also remove around 44,000 children from the Medicaid rolls.  The bill is sponsored by State Representative Jay Barnes (R, Jefferson City).

“Those children have families with incomes sufficient to afford private health insurance," Barnes said.  "I think that most people understand that Medicaid ends up with poorer health results than private health insurance, so parents would rather have their kids in private health insurance.”

House Minority Floor Leader Jake Hummel (D, St. Louis) says he’s disappointed with that provision.

“Certainly they are the most vulnerable, they are the people that we need to be helping first," Hummel said.  "We seem to be leaving off almost 200,000 Missourians off the health care rolls…clearly I don’t this this is where we need to be.”

Hummel added, though, that he hadn’t read the bill yet and that he’s hopeful a compromise can be reached.  His own bill that would have implemented Governor Jay Nixon’s(D) Medicaid expansion call was voted down on Monday by a House committee chaired by Barnes.

House Bill 700 would stop short of Obama's call to expand Medicaid coverage to adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or $32,500 for a family of four.  House Speaker Tim Jones(R, Eureka) says Barnes' plan could be at least a two-year project.

Follow Marshall Griffin and St. Louis Public Radio on Twitter@MarshallGReport  @stlpublicradio

Copyright 2013 KWMU-FM. To see more, visit http://www.stlpublicradio.org.

Missouri Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a proud alumnus of the University of Mississippi (a.k.a., Ole Miss), and has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off the old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Mason, and their cat, Honey.