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Missouri Republicans Outline 'Commonsense Conservative' Medicaid Alternative

Mo. House Communications

A long-promised Republican alternative to Medicaid expansion was filed today in the Missouri House.

House Bill 700 is being touted as “market-based Medicaid" -- under the bill, private insurers would compete to provide coverage for Medicaid recipients, and those recipients could get cash incentives for taking care of their health and avoiding costly medical procedures.  But it would also remove around 44,000 children from the Medicaid rolls.  The bill is sponsored by State Representative Jay Barnes (R, Jefferson City).

“Those children have families with incomes sufficient to afford private health insurance," Barnes said.  "I think that most people understand that Medicaid ends up with poorer health results than private health insurance, so parents would rather have their kids in private health insurance.”

House Minority Floor Leader Jake Hummel (D, St. Louis) says he’s disappointed with that provision.

“Certainly they are the most vulnerable, they are the people that we need to be helping first," Hummel said.  "We seem to be leaving off almost 200,000 Missourians off the health care rolls…clearly I don’t this this is where we need to be.”

Hummel added, though, that he hadn’t read the bill yet and that he’s hopeful a compromise can be reached.  His own bill that would have implemented Governor Jay Nixon’s(D) Medicaid expansion call was voted down on Monday by a House committee chaired by Barnes.

House Bill 700 would stop short of Obama's call to expand Medicaid coverage to adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or $32,500 for a family of four.  House Speaker Tim Jones(R, Eureka) says Barnes' plan could be at least a two-year project.

Follow Marshall Griffin and St. Louis Public Radio on Twitter@MarshallGReport  @stlpublicradio