NODLER: Senate Version Should Give House Conservatives Assurances
Senate Appropriations Chair Gary Nodler said a plan to expand health insurance coverage to 35,000 Missouri parents should give House Republicans the necessary assurances that new state money won't be needed to fund it.
Nodler spoke at a press conference with the Missouri Hospital Association Friday, to announce the Appropriations Committee's adoption of a planned aimed at reducing the uninsured.
The Senate's budget plan would extend eligibility from 20 percent of the poverty level to 50 percent of the poverty level. Hospitals would voluntarily provide the funding through an increase in the federal provider tax. It's estimated that 8,000 Southwest Missouri parents could take advantage of the program, including approximately 1,600 in Greene County.
The House did not increase eligibility in its own budget. Republicans said they were leery to approve an expansion without assurances that the funding stream would be there. Nodler explained that the Senate identified a separate funding line that would guarantee the program would not use general revenue.
"That feature, which is the coding of the funding source within the budget, that should give assurance to conservative legislators that there is not a downstream exposure or risk to a future demand on general revenue," Nodler said, when asked to explain the difference between the House and Senate plans.
*WATCH HIS FULL EXPLANATION ABOVE*
"The House's debate was exclusively on whether or not to include these eligibilities," Nodler said. "There was no discussion about . . . the funding source for this expansion."
ALSO: Dr. Larry Halverson of Cox: "For me, it seems like a no-brainer. It's a very small step. It's the lowest of the low income, the lowest of the low income who are parents, who have a job, at least 1 job, and are caring for their children, the future of Missouri."