Missouri lawmakers seek to convert Medicaid to block grant

Not waiting for President-elect Donald Trump to act first, some Missouri Republican lawmakers are pressing for a health-care overhaul that could convert the state’s Medicaid program into a block grant from the federal government.

A Republican-led Senate committee heard testimony Wednesday on legislation, which calls for the state to apply for a “global waiver” from the federal government.  The proposal’s sponsor, Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, claims the global waiver would give the state greater flexibility to establish “a patient-centered, sustainable, and cost-effective market-based health care system”.

The proposal targets recipients to meet certain conditions such as work requirements.  It could subject them to co-pay and premium payment stipulations as well as accountability and transparency standards.

Recipients could also be required to maintain a health savings account.  Sater says the global waiver would promote personal responsibility.

Opponents to the measure argue that there’s a misperception that global waivers give the states more flexibility to do things they can’t do through the normal Medicaid arrangement. Additionally, they say the plan could leave some people with little or no medical coverage.

Sater said he plans to bring his legislation up for a vote next week in the Senate Seniors, Families and Children Committee he leads, which means it could be among the first batch of bills cleared for Senate debate this year.

Read more: Missourinet, Southeast Missourian

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