Capitol Report: Operating budget sent to Senate

State Rep. Allen Andrews

House Speaker Elijah Haahr made it clear this week that the House will continue to look closely at the changes in Medicaid enrollment numbers. Haahr issued a letter outlining the steps he has taken to seek answers to why the state has seen a significant drop in enrollment over the past year, and giving his support to a continued investigation into the issue.

Missouri’s Medicaid program, which is known as MO HealthNet, provides health insurance for low-income Missourians. Missouri currently has approximately 600,000 Missourians on Medicaid. That number has dropped by more than 100,000 over the past year.

Officials with the program have said the drop in enrollment is due to a combination of factors including an improving economy that has resulted in more people accessing private insurance, more people going without insurance after the tax penalty that was part of the Affordable Care Act was removed, and new software that better allows the program to identify people who are no longer eligible for coverage.

Speaker Haahr said Rep. David Wood, who chairs the Subcommittee on Appropriations for Health, Mental Health and Social Services, has already been investigating the decline in enrollment. Haahr also has personally requested an updated briefing on the reasons for the change in enrollment from the MO HealthNet Director. Haahr also noted that he appointed state Rep. Jon Patterson, M.D., to the MO HealthNet Oversight Committee.

Haahr wrote, “Rep. Wood and Rep. Patterson have extensive knowledge of MO HealthNet and the utmost care for the most vulnerable Missourians, especially our children, that extends past partisan lines.  I trust that both Rep. Wood and Rep. Patterson will continue to ensure Missouri’s children receive the medical care they are entitled to.”

Haahr also wrote that if MO HealthNet officials fail to adequately answer the questions the legislature has about the enrollment drop, he will give his full support to public hearings on the issue.

As always, it is an honor to serve you.

Allen Andrews, State Representative - District 1, Missouri State Capitol, 201 West Capitol Avenue, Jefferson City, MO  65101. Telephone:  573- 751-9465.

 Allen Andrews is the First District State Representative.