The program taxes health care providers, which is then matched by federal dollars at a higher rate, reimbursing providers and leaving the state with extra money by reducing the burden on the state’s Medicaid program, known as MO HealthNet. The program is set to expire on Sept. 30, and its renewal stalled at the end of this year’s session in the upper chamber.
Unsicker, a Democrat representing part of St. Louis, sent a letter to Parson Wednesday asking him to call an extraordinary session focused on the issue.
“The FRA is not something that should be the subject of political games. People’s lives rely on Missouri receiving this funding for Medicaid,” the letter read. “There are currently over 1 million Missourians on the Medicaid program, including over 600,000 children.”
“You speak frequently about workforce development. These children are the workforce of the future.”
Acting MO HealthNet Director Kirk Mathews stated the future of the program was jeopardized by the failure to renew the tax, according to Unsicker. She said the end of the program would leave participants without affordable access to necessary medical treatments, from diabetes medication to cancer treatments.
This session’s attempts at extending the sunset for another year ground to a halt in the Senate; a handful of confrontations over an FRA renewal bill — which excluded an amendment that would have prohibited the use of the funds for drugs or devices “that may cause the destruction of, or prevent the implantation of, an unborn child” — was a major roadblock.
Conservative members in the upper chamber opposed another bill that included a House amendment that would have extended the program — again without the contraceptive measure — and derailed the process the evening before the end of session. Leadership in both chambers said a special session focused on the renewal would happen at some point before the expiration date arrived.
This isn’t the first request for a special session since the legislature adjourned: Kansas City Republicans also urged the governor to recall legislators over a plan to reallocate a portion of the city’s police department budget, and other Republicans have asked for one tackling election security issues.