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Thursday, September 27, 2007

GOVERNOR’S HEALTH CARE PROPOSAL FACES CRITICISM

Gov. Matt Blunt’s new proposal for expanding health insurance coverage to more Missourians drew immediate criticism from both Republicans and Democrats over the plan’s projected cost and whether it could realistically deliver on the governor’s promises.

Blunt’s Insure Missouri plan would assist working Missourians who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid in obtaining private health insurance. However, it would do nothing for the tens of thousands of children, senior citizens and disabled people who lost their health care coverage under the governor’s 2005 Medicaid cuts.

After years of saying it would be too costly to restore coverage to the 180,000 Missourians who lost it due to the 2005 cuts, Blunt now claims his plan would cover 200,000 Missourians at a cost of just $46 million in state revenue a year by 2010. Critics dispute that cost as improbably low to cover that many people.

Republican state Reps. Doug Ervin of Kearney and Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph, who both sponsored major health care legislation that passed earlier this year, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Blunt would have a hard time winning approval for his plan in the GOP-controlled General Assembly since it would create a large new state program.

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