Health Care Checkup: Amid GOP’s Constitutionality Questions, Chambers Back Medicaid

Photo courtesy of St. Louis Business Journal” credit=” 

The Health Care Checkup is a rundown of the state’s top health care headlines from the last week.

Bill would let health providers opt out of reproductive services

Missouri legislators are looking to expand laws that currently allow health care workers to refuse to participate in an abortion. The expansion would allow those workers to opt out of providing birth control, sterilization, assisted reproduction services and stem cell research. The workers would also be able to deny referrals for care.

Businesses, public continue to voice support of Medicaid, health care reform

A survey conducted by American Viewpoint shows that  47 percent of Missouri voters favored Medicaid expansion outright and 56 percent endorsed it after learning more about its economic and health benefits.

The Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce joined the growing list of chambers and other organizations across the state that support Medicaid expansion.

GOP leaders say expansion is “unconstitutional,” will add to debt

Republican leaders Kurt Schaefer and Tim Jones say they are opposed to an expiration date for Gov. Jay Nixon’s Medicaid expansion plan because the plan itself is “unconstitutional,” and the expansion would only add to the federal debt. Nixon has proposed a “sunset” if the federal government were to fall short on its promise to pay 100 percent of the expanded program’s cost for three years.

Public safety, mental health funding at heart of Nixon’s argument

Officials including Dr. Roy Wilson, medical director for the Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center; Herb Kuhn, president and CEO of the Missouri Hospital Association in Jefferson City; St. Louis mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson were among those who attended Nixon’s visit to the psychiatric center in St. Louis to further the push for Medicaid expansion. They joined the Governor in his call for increased support for the mentally ill.

Nixon brought out Doston, who said that expanding coverage to another 50,000 Missourians who need mental health treatment will improve public safety. Nixon is looking to sway the GOP-controlled state legislature, which has so far been dismissive.

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