MO Gov. Blunt proposes raising pay for doctors in HealthNet program
By Marshall Griffin, KWMU
Jefferson City, MO – Governor Matt Blunt is proposing an increase in the amount of reimbursements for doctors who take part in Missouri HealthNet.
The program is set to replace the state's Medicaid system just over six months from now.
Currently, doctors who treat lower-income Missourians are reimbursed 55 percent of Medicare rates. Press Secretary Jessica Robinson says Governor Blunt wants to raise the reimbursement to 65 percent.
"This is something that Gov. Blunt has recognized as an opportunity for us to improve health care in our state, and really improve how we deliver health care to our state's most vulnerable citizens," Robinson said.
The 10 percent increase would result in a $53 million pay raise for doctors in the Missouri HealthNet system.
Ruth Ehresman, Director of Health and Budgetary Policy for the Missouri Budget Project, says raising reimbursement rates is needed, but adds that the governor's proposal doesn't go far enough.
"In 2005, tens of thousands of vulnerable Missourians, low-income working families, people with disabilities, people who are elderly, children, lost their health insurance or now have to pay extremely high premiums to be eligible for Missouri HealthNet," Ehresman said.
Ehresman says the Medicaid cuts made nearly three years ago need to be restored in order to provide adequate health care coverage to low-income Missourians.