JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – What direction should health care take in the Show-Me State? That’s the question that will be put to a newly-formed committee following President Donald Trump’s executive order.
House Speaker Todd Richardson on Thursday announced the creation of the Interim Committee Stabilizing Missouri’s Health Insurance Markets to “gain a better understanding of what changes at the federal level will mean to health insurance markets in the state.”
To lead the committee in their work, Richardson has tapped Rep. Justin Hill, R-Lake St. Louis, as the committee’s chairman.
Richardson says Hill’s experience as a licensed health insurance provider provide him the experience and knowledge needed to guide the committee through the complexities of federal-level policy changes.
Hill says the committee will take an in-depth look at how the rollback of the Affordable Care Act will change the current health insurance climate in the Show-Me State and will work to determine if Missouri should pursue a federal waiver to sidestep the ACA requirements in order to get greater flexibility and stability in the marketplace.
Reviewing the state’s Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements law and looking at measures to stabilize small employer and individual insurance risk pools will be a priority for Hill and the committee.
“In the wake of President Trump’s Executive Order, states have more flexibility in addressing the challenges created by the Affordable Care Act. The individual insurance market carries the highest burden of risk for insurers and the relating costs have sent it into a death spiral. The small employer insurance market is not far off from suffering the same fate. This committee will give us a great opportunity to thoroughly assess our current situation and then develop solutions that will give us a long-term plan to address health care financing concerns in Missouri,” Hill said in a statement.
Reps. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann; Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove; Cody Smith, R-Carthage; David Wood, R-Versailles; Cora Faith Walker, D-St. Louis; and Martha Stevens, D-Columbia, will also serve on the interim committee, which is expected to begin its work immediately. They hope to produce recommendations for the General Assembly to consider by the end of the year.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.