On June 26, I believe Missouri senators made the ultimate pro-life decision by ensuring health care funding for pregnant women, poor children and the disabled would remain in the state budget for several years to come. Maintaining this funding has been vitally important to me as long as I have been in the Missouri General Assembly, and I am proud to have been a part of this.
Since 1992, Missouri has taken part in what is known as the Federal Reimbursement Allowance, or FRA. Missouri uses the FRA to draw down a large amount of federal Medicaid funds, more than $3 billion. These funds play an important role in allowing our state to provide health care to some of our most vulnerable.
During discussion on Senate Bill 1, there was a lot of talk about defunding Planned Parenthood in Missouri. I want to stress that no state tax dollars go toward providing abortions. That language is in state statute. In the end, lawmakers compromised to make sure our state stays in compliance with federal law, in order to continue to get as much Medicaid funding as we can. Again, without this crucial money, it is the disabled, poor children and expectant mothers who would suffer the most.
Missouri senators chose to keep the funding available for our most vulnerable, rather than take time we do not have. Renewing the FRA had to be done before the start of the new fiscal year, which began on July 1. Failure to do so not only could have meant losing federal dollars, but also could have meant nearly $1 billion in funding would have been taken from other parts of the state’s operating budget, in order to balance our bottom line. In my opinion, this would have been a lose-lose for everybody in our state.
Extending the FRA was a pro-life move. This way, pregnant women can continue to receive prenatal care, poor children can still get health care and the severely disabled in our state can still receive the services they need. In addition, SB 1 contains language that ensures Medicaid does not pay for surgical abortions or pay for drugs that terminate pregnancies. I would like to thank my colleagues for helping get this legislation through and keep Missouri moving forward.
As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is email@example.com and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.