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House Begins Debate on Medicaid Cuts

The Missouri House began debate Wednesday on legislation that would overhaul the Medicaid program and cut the rolls by 10 percent. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

Supporters of the bill say changes to Medicaid are long overdue.

They say the bill does a poor job of providing healthcare services to the most needy.

Republican Representative Jodi Stefanick is handling the legislation.

But opponents of the bill say it's too extreme.

During House debate, Democratic Representative Connie LaJoyce Johnson says it's wrong to reduce the income eligibility level.

Democrats tried to remove a provision in the bill that would require more families to pay premiums and co-pays in order for their children to get healthcare through the CHIPS program.

Democratic Representative Barbara Fraser says requiring more families to pay premiums will cause many families to drop out of the program.

But the bill handler Representative Jodi Stefanick says the premiums only applies to families that can afford to pay.

The chairman of the House Budget committee, Republican Brad Lager says it's critical to increase financial participation in the program on the part of recipients.

He says that will help make sure the program is economical for the state.

But Democrats say lawmakers are being too hasty in taking those steps.

Paul LeVota is the Assistant Democratic Floor Leader in the House.

If the House approves the bill without amending it, it would be go to the governor's desk.

It already has Senate approval.