From The Missouri Times – Both chambers of the Missouri legislature gave final approval to the more than $34 billion budget Friday afternoon.
The House began third reading budget bills, passing them along to the Senate. Most bills passed without conflict, with the lack of funding for Medicaid expansion the biggest topic of conversation in the lower chamber. A recommendation from the governor was stripped during the package’s time in the House Budget Committee and never returned despite attempts from both chambers and both sides of the aisle.
“None of these budget bills contain any appropriation for the Medicaid population expansion,” House Budget Committee Chair Cody Smith said when HBs 10 and 11, which would have included the funding, came to the floor. “Instead, we are taking that money that we would have put into that expansion and spending it in a variety of ways to help our most vulnerable in the state of Missouri. That was a House position, it held through the conference process, and here we are today arriving at no appropriations for Medicaid expansion.”
Smith saw pushback from Rep. Peter Merideth, the ranking minority member of the committee, who decried the lack of funding and pointed to constitutional language on the measure approved by voters last year.
“The reality is we are underfunding Medicaid services for all Medicaid enrollees, including those in the expansion population. That’s because the constitution is very explicit; the expansion population shall be eligible and shall receive coverage by July 1,” Merideth said. “It says we can’t offer services to one group of people and not to the expansion population.”