Today Governor Nixon signed thirteen budget bills as indicated in this May 8 press release:
Governor announces that state will be moving forward to expand Medicaid managed care in a way that will protect vulnerable Missourians
Gov. Jay Nixon today signed House Bills 1 through 13, which provide authorization for spending in the 2016 Fiscal Year, highlighting investments in public education, economic development, and services for vulnerable Missourians.
“I appreciate the General Assembly for once again passing a budget on time, and providing the fiscal certainty and stability that’s an important part of maintaining our AAA credit rating,” Gov. Nixon said. “In January, I called on the legislature to invest in priorities that would strengthen our economy and our communities. From local schools to high-tech startups, I’m pleased to report that the General Assembly has answered that call.”
The Governor highlighted a number of areas in the budget, including significant investments in Missouri’s K-12 classrooms and higher education. In January, the Governor proposed a $129 million increase in Missouri’s K-12 classrooms. The final budget passed by the General Assembly included an increase of $84 million in this area. K-12 schools will also receive $21 million in additional Proposition C funds (school district trust funds) as recommended by the Governor. The legislature also answered the Governor’s call to increase funding for Early Childhood Special Education, which serves children aged 3 and 4, by $5 million.
“This budget provides record funding for the best economic development tool there is — public education,” Gov. Nixon said. “That means smaller class sizes, more technology, better training for teachers, and other tools that will help Missouri’s students succeed.”
For higher education, the final budget passed by the General Assembly included an increase of $12 million in performance-based funding for public colleges and universities. The Governor had proposed a $25 million increase. In addition, Gov. Nixon requested and the legislature passed a $2 million increase for the A+ Scholarship Program, which covers tuition and fees for two years of community college for eligible students. The Governor’s plan to make long-overdue improvements to college campuses, developed in collaboration with the state’s colleges and universities, is also moving forward with final passage of House Bill 19.
The Governor also highlighted services for vulnerable Missourians, including $13.9 million total funds to provide services to additional individuals with developmental disabilities and keep the state’s waiting list for in-home Medicaid developmental disability services at zero.
“When I took office, some Missourians with developmental disabilities and their families had spent years on a state waiting list to get the Medicaid services they needed,” said Gov. Nixon. “Working together we brought that wait list down to zero, and with this budget we’ll keep it that way, with an additional $13.9 million to ensure Missourians with developmental disabilities receive the care they need, when they need it.
The Governor did express disappointment that, despite increasing state revenues, the General Assembly made significant cuts to services for the vulnerable and state cyber security efforts.
“Quite frankly, it was disappointing that the legislature unnecessarily cut $90 million from services including health care for seniors, people with disabilities and kids,” said Gov. Nixon. “In addition, at a time when Missourians are rightfully concerned about the security of their personal information online – it’s troubling that the legislature cut over two million dollars from the state’s information technology infrastructure.”
The final budget passed by the General Assembly also included funding for several economic development initiatives recommended by the Governor, including $18.4 million for the Missouri Technology Corporation.
House Bill 11 includes appropriation authority to implement Medicaid managed care to the remaining 61 Missouri counties where it has not yet been implemented. Currently, 48 percent of Missourians who are enrolled in Medicaid do so through a private managed care provider. The Governor announced that the state would move forward with the expansion of managed care, but do so in a responsible, transparent way that would protect vulnerable Missourians. State statute (section 208.950) prevents the state from requiring managed care for Medicaid beneficiaries who are aged, blind or disabled.
“Two months ago, I proposed greater access to private insurance as one of the reforms that should be considered as we work to bring our tax dollars home and provide affordable health care to more working families through Medicaid expansion,” said Gov. Nixon. “That is why we will be moving forward to expand managed care – but we’re going to do it in a careful, transparent and responsible way.
“Let me be very clear: under no circumstances will we implement this expansion at the expense of vulnerable Missourians like those with severe mental illness, or include populations with special needs – like Missourians with disabilities and seniors – in managed care,” the Governor said.