Update from the Capitol: March 2, 2016

March 2, 2016

There’s a lot happening in the Missouri Capitol. Read on for recent updates and ways you can take action to increase access to health care.

Health Care Lobby Day

Missouri Health Care for All’s first lobby day on February 17 was a huge success. Nearly 100 people from around the state joined us to talk to their legislators about asset limits, rate review, and closing Missouri’s Coverage Gap. Our visits made a difference, as you’ll see below.

What you can do:

Sign up to join coalition partners at a Rally for Justice in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 17.

Sign up to attend our next Health Care Lobby Day on Tuesday, April 19.

Bill to raise asset limits advances

Under current law, people with disabilities and seniors lose their Medicaid if they have too much money in the bank – just $999 for an individual and $2,000 for a couple. These limits were set in 1967 and have not changed since. As a result, people with disabilities and seniors cannot save their own money to help with expenses like education, home and car repairs, and other basic needs. HB 1565 would gradually raise Missouri’s asset limits, allowing people to save their own money for important expenses. Last week, the Missouri House passed HB 1565 by a vote of 151-7 – this is great news! Now the bill moves to the Senate.

What you can do: Please call your state senator and encourage him or her to support HB 1565. Click here to look up your state senator’s phone number.

Rate review gains co-sponsors

Missouri health insurance rates are going up much faster than the national average. One reason may be that Missouri is the only U.S. state where our Department of Insurance isn’t allowed to review or publish health insurance rates. Giving the Missouri Department of Insurance the ability to review health insurance rates could help keep premiums lower for Missouri. There have been two bills filed that would create rate review in Missouri. One, HB 1405, picked up four additional co-sponsors – two Republicans and two Democrats – after our lobby day. We will keep you posted on progress on this issue.

Missouri still needs to close the Coverage Gap

We continue to talk to legislators about the need to close the Coverage Gap. While we are frustrated that Missouri hasn’t closed its gap yet, we are reminded that it often takes 5-10 years to pass a bill in Missouri. We are in this fight for the long haul and we have a strategy to win. Please join us in the Capitol on either March 17 or April 19, and please watch your e-mail for ways to get involved locally.

Want more information on the bills we are tracking? Go to https://missourihealthcareforall.org/bills/ for information on these and other bills.

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