We have come to the end of the Missouri legislative session. I have been absolutely encouraged by the hard work done by so many this session and the progress that was made.
I can appreciate how tired the people are who have been working on this issue to see another session slip by without the ability to tell the uninsured that there is an option for them. That said, I think that this was an incredibly successful session.
In Missouri, the conversation has changed from “we refuse,” to an examination of the ways that we can come to our middle ground.
While the news coverage concentrates on the division, I really don’t think that we have been as far apart as people think. We want good care available to the most number of people, done in a way that is fiscally sustainable. That is what we agree on. The part left to negotiate is how we get there.
While the decision from the Supreme Court in 2012 made it optional for states to expand coverage through Medicaid, it also provided us with an incubator for different approaches across those states. Missouri has the ability to look at the way that other states have chosen to provide care to their low-income populations and learn from them.
In the 2015 session, we will look at what we agree upon and then craft what comes next—the common themes I have heard include—
- Keeping people healthy enough to stay employed
- Helping people to recognize and act upon their own contributions to health and wellness
- Making it easy for people to seek the right care, in the right place, at the right time
- Improving access to primary care
- Taking very good care of children and pregnant women
- Providing resources for those who want to quit smoking
- Providing options for people to have access to private insurance
- Spending health care dollars wisely
- Taking advantage of the flexibility that is available to states to craft their own programs
My deep gratitude to the legislators on both sides of the aisle who have spent the last several months working toward improved opportunities for Missourians. We will continue to encourage their efforts with the goal of success in 2015 when we have a Missouri Medicaid Solution.