Missouri Legislature looking at special session this week

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From The Missouri Times –

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Mike Parson outlined the economic effects of a failure to renew the federal reimbursement allowance (FRA) Monday, pointing to the group of legislators who stalled the process. 

“We’re laying out a grim reality our state is facing if the federal reimbursement allowance and related programs are not extended,” Parson told reporters. “Narrow political interests cannot hold hostage vital health care funding and the success of our economy. … My administration is ready to act on compromises that have previously been agreed upon. Our solution addresses the concerns that have been raised while keeping Missouri federally compliant.”

Parson gave lawmakers until noon Tuesday to come up with a compromise to pave the way for a special session with a goal for lawmakers to return to Jefferson City Wednesday. The deadline would give legislators just enough time to pass the bill before the start of the next fiscal year without the need for withholds.

Parson’s spokeswoman told a reporter that lawmakers would likely work through the weekend to hit the deadline. 

The conflict over the FRA renewal derailed the last days of session as a group of Republican members went to war over pro-life language that failed to make it to the floor as part of the reauthorization bill. 

Parson met with lawmakers last week to come to a compromise on the controversial measure; the group worked to come to a consensus on the length of reauthorization, language prohibiting Medicaid funding for abortion providers and affiliates, and restricting the program from covering family planning services that include certain abortifacients, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs when used to induce an abortion. 

Parson was expected to issue the call last Friday, but a breakdown in negotiation further stalled the issue. He said a call would not “forfeit pro-life policies.

The program taxes health care providers — including ambulances, nursing homes, pharmacies, hospitals, and facilities for the intellectually disabled — which is then matched by federal dollars at a higher rate, reimbursing the providers and leaving the state with extra money by reducing the burden on the state’s Medicaid program. 

Failure to reauthorize the FRA could result in a loss of up to $5.7 billion in federal funding — which includes money from the American Rescue Plan — and could mean budget cuts to education or social services, according to an analysis from the Missouri Budget Project. 

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