May 3, 2024 Less than a minute read

Senate gives initial approval to essential health care funding bill

Despite extended dysfunction and political gamesmanship, the Missouri Senate gave initial approval to legislation that plays an essential role in keeping the state’s hospitals open.

Around 3:30 a.m. on Thursday, the Senate perfected SB 748, which renews the Federal Reimbursement Allowance program, or FRA.

The FRA program is a critical funding mechanism for sustaining essential health care services across our state. For more than 30 years, Missouri hospitals, nursing homes and pharmacies have paid this provider tax in order to sustain Missouri’s Medicaid program, known as MO HealthNet. The public-private partnership with state government generates roughly $4 billion annually in matching federal funds.

SB 748, sponsored by Sen. Lincoln Hough (R-Springfield), will extend the FRA program through 2029.

Hough and other senators withstood a 40-hour filibuster by members of the Freedom Caucus – Sens. Bill Eigel, Rick Brattin, Denny Hoskins, Andrew Koenig and Nick Schroer. This group’s obstructionist behavior threatened to devastate Missouri’s health care system and cause irreparable damage to countless lives.

On Wednesday, the Missouri Chamber joined the Missouri Hospital Association, Missouri Health Care Association, Missouri Pharmacy Association and Missouri Ambulance Association in calling for an end to the destructive filibuster.

The five organizations issued a joint statement, saying, “We commend the Senate leaders who strive tirelessly to defend Missouri’s interests against the chaos sown by a few. To those standing in the way of progress: Your tactics harm the very individuals you pledge to serve. This behavior is not leadership; it represents an abandonment of your responsibilities.”

The Senate is expected to take a final vote on the FRA program renewal next week. The bill will then go to the House for approval.


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