JOPLIN, MO – Governor Mike Parson says budget cuts could be coming to the state’s Medicaid Program is lawmakers don’t find a comprise to renew an important tax.
The general assembly did not approve legislation before session ended last month to fund the state’s Medicaid program.
And now the Governor says the clock is ticking to find a solution before he withholds money from the state budget.
“It’s over a billion dollar hole in the budget.” Says Parson.
The federal reimbursement allowance program is a tax collected from medical providers like hospitals to support Medicaid.
“We know we’re having a very difficult time trying to hire staff on that medical front, whether it’s mental health whether it’s foster care, whether it’s daycare, all the things that are affected by the FRA, becomes very problematic.” Says Parson.
And since lawmakers didn’t get it done before they adjourned, Governor Parson says he’s prepared to make budget cuts.
“If there is not some sort of agreement, somewhere we can have a solution, and it doesn’t happen before July 1, there’s not going to be any choices, we’re going to have to start withholding starting July 1.” Says parson.
The FRA brings in more than $1,000,000,000 for Medicaid, and then allows the state to bring in double that from the federal government.
“This is a huge deal what we’re talking about with FRA if we don’t get it across the finish line and I mean the clock is ticking on this.” Says Parson.
But the problem in finding a compromise is whether or not to allow Medicaid to cover contraceptives.
“This hasn’t happened because a group of Republicans in the Missouri Senate are determined to prevent women from accessing birth control.” Says Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo.
“Hopefully level heads prevail there and we find a resolution to this problem and we get FRA done but it has a dramatic affect on state government.” Says Parson.
Renewing the FRA is one of more than 13 requests Parson’s office has received for a special session.
“A lot of people want things but until there is some sort of agreement on some of the hot button issues, we just can’t move forward on that and that’s just not as simple as calling a special session.” Says Parson.
Right now, the $35,000,000,000 state budget for next fiscal year is sitting on the governor’s desk. He says he doesn’t think he can sign it without the FRA being renewed because without it, the state only has enough money to pay the bills for 6 months.