Missouri’s rural areas are lagging behind their urban counterparts when it comes to health coverage – and the state’s decision to decline the federal expansion of Medicaid is a significant factor, according to a study published this month.
The Missouri House of Representatives voted to override four Governor’s budget vetoes, including two that impact child and juvenile advocacy. The House voted to restore $100,000 that would have been used to hire two full-time employees for the Office of Child Advocate, and $487,000 that would have added nine full-time employees for juvenile advocacy units in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas.
The Senate adjourned without voting, so the Governor’s vetoes stood. Senator Brown said funding for Office of Child Advocate would be included in a supplemental spending budget in January and that Parson is “committed” to finding more permanent funding for the Time Critical Diagnosis program. Regarding juvenile advocacy, Missouri funded $3.2 million in salary increases to the public defender system this year and will monitor the department’s retention and caseload, Parson said in his veto letter.
Gov. Mike Parson announced this week he is calling for a special session of the Missouri general assembly to discuss legislative bills related to science education and drug courts.
The session will be concurrent with the annual “veto” session, in which legislators may vote to override a governor’s veto ruling for any bills from the traditional January-May session.
In a statement announcing the decision, the governor indicated he did not oppose new policy promoting drug courts or robust computer-science education in high schools, but he hoped legislators would, “come up with a more narrowly defined focus” on those policies.
The session will take place the week of Sept. 10-14.
Millions of children in the United States obtain health coverage through federal programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Recently, the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute Center for Children and Families launched an interactive map showing the impact of these programs locally.
Specifically, the map shows the percentage of children enrolled in either Medicaid or CHIP by congressional district as of 2016, the most recent year such data is available.
Missouri has eight congressional districts. In five of them, more than 30 percent of children are enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP. In one of them, it is more than 40 percent.
Both federally funded health programs have come under scrutiny as government agencies seek to contain costs, particularly related to Medicaid. Former Gov. Greitens, for example, called for $40 million in cost-containment initiatives in Missouri’s version of the Medicaid program. President Trump in May requested approximately $7 billion in unspent CHIP funds remain unspent to contain costs.