Parson warns of budget cuts if Medicaid tax is not renewed
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson warned Monday that Medicaid budget cuts would come in July if lawmakers failed to reach a deal to renew a critical health care provider tax that funds a significant portion of the health care coverage program. state for low-income residents.
Lawmakers did not renew the tax, which expires September 30, before closing their session on May 14. At stake was a fight led by Republicans Paul Wieland of Imperial and Bob Onder of Lake St. Louis to insert a language. ban Medicaid coverage from certain birth control methods.
The tax collected from hospitals, nursing homes and pharmacies generates about $ 1.6 billion annually. This allows the state to provide $ 3 billion in federal funds that are returned to treatment facilities for low-income elderly and disabled residents enrolled in the state’s $ 12 billion Medicaid program.
“Time is running out,” Parson told reporters Monday afternoon. “If there isn’t some sort of deal where we have a solution, and it doesn’t happen until July 1, there won’t be a choice. We’re gonna have to start holding back [from the budget] 1st of July. ”
The $ 35 billion state budget on Parson’s office for the fiscal year that begins July 1 includes increased funding for homes for the disabled, higher Medicaid payments to nursing homes, and nursing home services. expanded mental health.
These facilities have struggled to hire workers recently, Parson said, and a Medicaid budget crisis “is going to make this situation much more difficult.”
“It has a dramatic effect on state government,” he said. Without the tax renewal, “you probably have enough to be able to pay the bills for five or six months … but I mean you break the bank to do it.”
The tax is one of two crises jeopardizing Medicaid this year. If a Cole County court forces the state to implement a voter-approved Medicaid expansion plan, the program is expected to support 275,000 new eligible low-income residents without adequate funding.
Lawmakers and representatives of the health care industry universally agree that Parson will need to convene a special legislative session for the renewal of the tax. But the governor has said he wants to wait until lawmakers come to an agreement ensuring its passage first.
Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, a pro-independence Democrat, called it “wise” last week.
“It would probably be best to wait until some of this fence repair actually happens,” he said. “I thank the governor for doing this. “
Tax Renewal Fundamental State Division Senate business ends on the last day of the legislative session. Democrats opposed any tax renewal containing a ban on contraceptive coverage. The most right-wing Republicans in the chamber insisted on its inclusion.
In an overnight vote less than a day before the end of the session, Senate Speaker Dave Schatz voted to add the ban, effectively killing the renewal bill and apparently backing off a deal with Democrats and some Republicans to pass the renewal. . Rizzo, furious, moved the adjournment of the meeting four hours earlier without objection.
Wieland told The Star last month that he was determined to try to reintroduce the ban on contraceptives. He did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Parson did not say whether he wanted the tax to be renewed without any amendments, but said his office “was working on this daily.”
The governor withheld $ 448 million from the state’s current budget as the COVID-19 pandemic raged last June, with cuts concentrated in kindergarten to grade 12 and higher education. He restored all funds in March as the state ended up posting record revenues.