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Richardson’s task force draws “tongue in cheek” response from Dems


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — House Minority Leader Jacob Hummel wants the statement he released today to be read with “tongue firmly in cheek,” after an ill-worded letter from House Speaker Todd Richard initially appeared to show his support for expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Last year, Republicans passed House Bill 11, a budget bill which included provisions to create a task force to study the fiscal implications of expanding Medicaid managed care statewide. But Richardson’s letter today forming the committee initially left out the words “managed care,” and originally appeared to show Richardson forming a Task Force for the purposes of Democrat-backed Medicaid expansion. A corrected version of Richardson’s letter dubs it the “Task Force for Examining Statewide Medicaid Delivery Models.”

Richardson appointed 5 lawmakers to the 13-member task force. The members are: Representatives Marsha Haefner, who is chairing the task force, Sue Allen, Justin Alferman, Deb Lavender, the sole Democrat, and Jim Neely.

Also appointed to the task force: Eric Rassmusssen with BJC Accountable Care, Brent McGinty, executive director for Missouri Community Mental Health Centers Association, Janet Grant, Regional Director for Aetna, Melissa Robinson, executive director of Black Health Care Coalition, Leslie Anders, public policy and advocacy director for Services for Independent Living, Dr. Rolfe McCoy, Missouri Dental Association and Chuck Hollister, Missouri Psychological Association.

Hummel’s statement notes the mistake with glee.

“House Speaker Todd Richardson’s action today creating the Task Force for Expanding Medicaid Statewide is a welcome, though unexpected, turn of events,” said House Minority Jake Hummel in a statement. “It is encouraging majority Republicans have finally recognized that their failure to embrace Medicaid expansion and the economic and public health benefits it would bring to Missouri has just been a big mistake. This is a bold and decisive move by our new speaker that demonstrates a keen eye for detail when setting public policy.”