More than 150,000 more Oklahomans now qualified for Medicaid

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – State health officials say more than 150,000 Oklahomans have qualified for Medicaid under an expansion of the program approved by voters.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority reported Monday that 154,316 Oklahomans have qualified for benefits. Of those, nearly 91,000 live in urban areas and about 63,000 in rural Oklahoma. About half are between 19 and 34 years old. OHCA officials say they suspect many more Oklahomans are eligible for benefits but still need to apply.

After a decade of Republican resistance, Oklahoma voters narrowly approved a constitutional amendment last year to expand eligibility for benefits.


Missouri Republicans face heat over Planned Parenthood money

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – Anti-abortion advocates are pushing Missouri lawmakers to block Planned Parenthood funding during a special session.

Missouri Right to Life Executive Director Susan Klein on Tuesday questioned whether the GOP-led House is willing to block Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood during the special session. Republican Gov. Mike Parson called lawmakers back to work to renew a tax on hospitals and other medical providers.

The tax money is used to drawn down federal Medicaid funding. But the tax renewal has become entangled with debate over Planned Parenthood funding. Senators last week passed the tax renewal without acting on Planned Parenthood.


Missouri Representative running for re-election

JOPLIN Mo. — A current Missouri Representative is announcing his is running for re-election.

Missouri State Senator Bill White was in Joplin Saturday afternoon hosting an ice cream social at Cunningham Park.

White is running for his second four-year term in the Missouri Senate in 2022.

He says his biggest accomplishments are taking care of vulnerable citizens and hopes to continue working on Medicaid reform during his current term.

“We are always looking at making the government more efficient. I’m going to be doing some work on Medicaid reform. Not dumping it or trashing it we want to make sure its more efficient. The more efficiently we spend our money the more healthcare we can provide with the money we pay. We pay nine billion dollars for those types of services. The more efficient we can be the more services we provide,” Bill White State Senator.

Congressman Billy Long, Representative Lane Roberts and Jasper County Clerk Charlie Davis attended the event.


Parson calls special session on Missouri Medicaid funding

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is calling lawmakers back for a special session to work out a deal on a critical piece of Medicaid funding.

Parson announced Tuesday that he is calling a special session beginning noon Wednesday so lawmakers can pass a tax on medical providers that draws down a significant amount of federal Medicaid funding. At issue is an effort by some Republican lawmakers to stop Medicaid coverage for Planned Parenthood and some family planning services.

Parson says time is running out for lawmakers to cut a deal and protect the funding.


Oklahoma high court strikes down governor’s Medicaid plan

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled Gov. Kevin Stitt’s plan to privatize much of the state’s Medicaid program is unconstitutional.

The court determined in a 6-3 ruling Tuesday that the Oklahoma Health Care Authority did not have the legislative approval to move forward with the plan. The Republican governor has pushed the plan to outsource management of the state’s Medicaid system to for-profit insurance companies. He maintains that approach will maximize health care quality while cutting costs. But a group of medical organizations filed suit in February seeking to stop the plan.

Plaintiffs included the Oklahoma State Medical Association and the Oklahoma Dental Association.


Missouri governor drops voter-approved Medicaid expansion

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri Gov. Mike Parson dropped plans Thursday to expand the state’s Medicaid health care program to thousands of low-income adults after the Republican-led Legislature refused to provide funding for the voter-approved measure.

The Republican governor said his administration had withdrawn a request to expand coverage that had been submitted to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in compliance with a constitutional amendment passed by voters last November.

He noted that the state’s $35 billion budget approved by lawmakers last week didn’t provide the funding he had requested for an expansion of Medicaid, which is known is Missouri as MO HealthNet.

“Without a revenue source or funding authority from the General Assembly, we are unable to proceed with the expansion at this time and must withdraw our State Plan Amendments to ensure Missouri’s existing MO HealthNet program remains solvent,” Parson said Thursday.

The decision is likely to trigger a lawsuit from supporters of Medicaid expansion.

The Missouri ballot measure said people ages 19-65 earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level – less than $17,774 annually for an individual or less than $37,570 for a family of four – “shall be eligible” and “shall receive coverage” for Medicaid benefits starting July 1. The amendment did not change existing eligibility standards for children and seniors, and it did not say how to pay for the expansion that is projected to cover a couple hundred thousand people.

Parson had opposed Medicaid expansion at the ballot box, but he said he would uphold the will of voters and so had included funding for it in the budget he proposed to lawmakers earlier this year.


Missouri Senate votes down funding for Medicaid expansion

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – The Missouri Senate has voted against paying for Medicaid expansion. Senators on Wednesday voted 20-14 against a proposal to add the funding to the state budget.

The vote locks in the House’s decision not to pay for Medicaid expansion. Missouri voters last year voted to expand who is eligible for government health care coverage to thousands more low-income adults. But the Republican-led Legislature has long opposed growing the program. Now they’re trying to thwart expansion by blocking funding for it.

If lawmakers send the governor a budget without paying for the program, it likely will set up a court battle.


Missouri Senate panel votes down Medicaid expansion funding

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A Missouri Senate budget committee has voted against funding Medicaid expansion.

The budget panel voted 7-7 Wednesday on a Republican-sponsored proposal that would have set money aside to pay for the program. The tied vote meant the proposal failed. Missouri voters last year amended the state Constitution to extend government health care to thousands more low-income adults. But now the Republican-led Legislature is arguing over whether to pay for it.

The leader of the budget committee says it’s now up to the full Senate to make a final decision on funding for the program.


Missouri House votes against funding Medicaid expansion

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – Missouri’s House has voted against paying for thousands more low-income adults to get Medicaid.

The Republican-led House on Tuesday voted down several Democratic proposals to fund Medicaid expansion. Missouri voters last year amended the state Constitution to expand eligibility for the government health care program. But the GOP-led House Budget Committee last week stripped funding for the expansion from next year’s budget.

House Democrats are trying to put the money back in the budget. It appears likely that their efforts will fail.

Republicans say they’re worried about committing the state to paying for a growing and expensive program.