Southwest Missouri Representatives Discuss Medicaid Legislation
This week, the House of Representative likely will debate legislation that would cut one hundred thousand people off the Medicaid program. The state-funded program provides healthcare-related services to one million low-income Missourians. KSMU's Missy Shelton spoke with several lawmakers from Southwest Missouri and asked them how they feel about the proposed cuts.
Republican Representative Brad Roark of Springfield chairs the committee that approved the Medicaid cuts.
He says the bill will reduce Medicaid fraud and free up money that can go to providing care to the most needy and education.
He says he believes the potential impact of the bill has been overstated.
Republican Representative Bob Dixon of Springfield says he's not sure how he'll vote on the bill.
But he says something needs to be done because the current system isn't working.
But Springfield Democratic Representative Sara Lampe says the bill will cut off people who truly need services.
She says it goes well beyond weeding out fraud and abuse in the Medicaid system.
It's not just Democrats like Lampe who have concerns.
At least one Republican representative also has concerns about the bill.
Representative Jim Viebrock, whose Greene County district includes Republic, says he's not sure how he'll vote on the bill.
But he says he has concerns about the bill because of a personal tragedy.
And while Republican Governor Matt Blunt has proposed cutting Medicaid to fund education, Democrat Sara Lampe says that's counterproductive.
Lampe is a longtime educator and former director of the gifted program for Springfield R-12 School District.
As lawmakers consider this bill, some representatives like Springfield Republican Bob Dixon will see it as a way to provide the General Assembly with the freedom to appropriate money.
Dixon says without this bill, lawmakers' hands are tied and they're forced to fund Medicaid, regardless of the other needs of the state.
The bill that changes Medicaid already has Senate approval.