KIDDIECARE: Generous Missouri Plan Survives Key Vote
"A plan to extend Medicaid coverage into the middle class survived a key vote [yesterday] as the Missouri House thwarted Republican efforts to pare down the program," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Under the bill, which passed 81-77, children will qualify for Medicaid "if their family income is three times the poverty level" -- a total of $49,350 for a family of four. Children will have to have been uninsured for six months in order to qualify for the program. The state's Kiddiecare plan received approval from the federal government earlier in the week. State Rep. Scott Lakin (D), a co-sponsor of the measure, said, "What we're trying to do is get these kids to see a doctor on a regular basis so they don't get sick." But many local Republicans, such as Assistant Minority Floor Leader Don Lograsso, complained that the eligibility caps are too high and the state is essentially "going to provide Medicaid to rich people." Most Republicans "favored capping the [Medicaid] expansion at 200 or 225% of poverty." The new plan is estimated to cost taxpayers $151.8 million, "of which $102 million is federal money." State Rep. Chuck Purgason (R), "said he might cancel his children's private insurance so taxpayers pick up the tab in six months. That way, he could afford a fishing boat." Debate on the measure will continue Monday (Bell, 5/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.