A newly-formed group of lawmakers will spend the rest of the year looking at the direction health care should take in Missouri. House Speaker Todd Richardson recently created the Interim Committee on Stabilizing Missouri’s Health Insurance Markets for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of what changes at the federal level will mean to markets in the state. More on this topic in the first section of the report.
Last Saturday was Veterans Day and it was a busy day. I started off the day by attending the Veterans Day ceremony at the American Legion Post 131 in Warrensburg, where Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler was the guest speaker. Congresswoman Hartzler handed out special congressional cards and pins to honor veterans for their service. I then traveled to the Whitfield Leadership Center dedication ceremony in honor of James S. Whitfield, a native of Warrensburg who demonstrated a lifelong commitment to improving and serving our community. Mr. Whitefield had a relationship of dedicated service to UCM, the Warrensburg American Legion Post, the Warrensburg Elks, and the Warrensburg chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa. He was also instrumental in establishing Warrensburg as the headquarters of Boys State and the Missouri Veterans Home.
Finally, I traveled to the Warrensburg Veterans Home for a program featuring James Shipley, a crew chief for the Tuskegee Airmen from Tipton. Mr. Shipley was 19 when he enlisted, less than a year after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Mr. Shipley served 21 months in Italy as a mechanic in the 332nd, keeping P-40 Warhawks, P-47 Thunderbolts, and other fighting aircraft in flying condition. Now, at the age of 94, Mr. Shipley is one of fewer than 200 surviving members of the famed, Tuskegee Airmen. Overall, it was a very busy day, but a great day. Thanks again to all of our veterans.
New Interim Committee to Seek Solutions to Stabilize Missouri’s Health Insurance Markets
A newly-formed group of lawmakers will spend the rest of the year looking at the direction health care should take in Missouri. House Speaker Todd Richardson recently created the Interim Committee on Stabilizing Missouri’s Health Insurance Markets for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of what changes at the federal level will mean to markets in the state.
The committee will take and in-depth look at how the rollback of the Affordable Care Act will alter the health insurance climate in Missouri. Committee members will also work to determine if Missouri should pursue a federal waiver to sidestep requirements of the ACA and allow the state to have greater flexibility and stability for the health insurance market. Reviewing the state’s Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements law, and looking at measures to stabilize small employer and individual insurance risk pools will also be priorities for the committee.
As Chair Keith Frederick, M.D. said, “In the wake of President Trump’s Executive Order, states have more flexibility in addressing the challenges created by the Affordable Care Act. The individual insurance market carries the highest burden of risk for insurers and the relating costs have sent it into a death spiral. The small employer insurance market is not far off from suffering the same fate. This committee will give us a great opportunity to thoroughly assess our current situation and then develop solutions that will give us a long-term plan to address health care financing concerns in Missouri.”
The committee began its work this week and will produce recommendations for the legislature to consider by the end of the year.
Governor Returns from Trade Mission in Israel
Last Sunday, Governor Eric Greitens returned from his first trade mission to the nation of Israel. The Governor met with business, government, and military leaders in an attempt to build education and public safety partnerships and gain more jobs for Missourians.
While overseas, the Governor toured Israel and visited with members of the Israeli military. In meetings with public safety leaders, the Governor discussed the possibility of an exchange program to share best practices in policy, strategy, and operations between Missouri’s first responders and their Israeli counterparts. The governor also visited the Iron Dome, Jordan Valley, Golan Heights, sat down with Shayetet 13, Israel’s version of the Navy SEALs, and met with top government, military, and public safety leaders in Israel. The main topic of discussion was the potential for training partnerships between Israeli first responders and Missouri’s fire departments, police, National Guard, and cyber security teams.
Finally, last week, the governor met with the CEO of HackerU, a training center dedicated to IT professions and others, who desire an education and training relating to information security and malicious hackers. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Missouri and HackerU in an effort to create higher education partnerships—training Missouri’s next generation of cybersecurity leaders and creating more opportunities for quality jobs.
On Veterans Day, I joined Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler at the American Legion Post 131 in Warrensburg for a special Veterans Day ceremony. Congresswoman Hartzler presented congressional cards and pins to several veterans during the ceremony to recognize them for their distinguished service.
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.