Health Care Legislative Agenda

Retain Federal tax paid by Missouri employers and employees:  The Missouri Chamber does not support federal mandates in the health care system, however, at present, we are faced with implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA gives states the option of implementing the law’s Medicaid transformation.  We support this transformation coupled with market-based reforms to the MoHealthNet program.  Specific reforms including incentives for wellness, stronger personal accountability and metrics in the system are encouraged.  While controversial, Missouri’s choice to maximize coverage to those newly eligible would result in an estimated return of $8.3 billion in federal funds to Missouri through 2021. These are funds that Missouri’s employers and workers have contributed to their federal taxes.  Failure on the part of the state to take advantage of this federal investment increases the likelihood of potential liability by the state’s employers for increased taxes imposed by the ACA and the continued cost shifting of health care premiums now paid by Missouri’s employers to cover the cost to providers of the uninsured.

Create a prescription drug monitoring program:  To reduce the cost associated with prescription drugs the Missouri Chamber supports the creation of a prescription drug monitoring program.  Missouri is the only state in the nation that has not passed this type of legislation. Prescription drug abuse and diversion increases the cost associated with prescription medication. A monitoring program would reduce prescription drug abuse and provide a means of oversight to ensure that Missouri employers are not paying for abuse of prescription drugs.

Oppose federal restrictions on states’ utilization of provider assessments:  States like Missouri should have the opportunity to choose how to fund its health care system. In Missouri, and 48 other states and the District of Columbia, provider assessments have become a positive investment in health care coverage.  Billions of dollars are at stake and tens of thousands of employees depend on this funding mechanism to ensure quality care and to support the workforce that provides it. While true entitlement reform may be one measure toward future fiscal success, it is not wise to drastically cut the utilization cap for provider assessments, shift this cost to the states and private employers while disproportionately impacting Missourians. Such proposals will cause severe job loss and affect the quality and delivery of health care in Missouri.   

Oppose making pseudoephedrine (PSE) by prescription only and continue support for the real-time electronic tracking system (NPLEX):  Some criminals use PSE to make methamphetamine. However, law-abiding citizens in Missouri should not be punished by being forced to pay for a physician visit to purchase PSE.  PSE was approved by the FDA as a safe and effective non-prescription drug. The real-time electronic tracking system provides law enforcement with an effective tool to track criminals and still allow legitimate patients to get PSE without a prescription. Making PSE prescription-only will also add to the health care costs of employers. Therefore, we support the current system of electronic tracking.  

Limit government-mandated health care benefits:
  Each year numerous legislative proposals are filed that would mandate coverage for certain health care benefits. While some may be well intended, these mandates can drive up the cost of health care, potentially forcing some employers out of the health insurance market. The Missouri Chamber opposes health care benefit mandates and provider mandates.  Where mandates are unavoidable or otherwise imposed, the Missouri Chamber supports efforts to couple those mandates with genuine, meaningful reforms that decrease costs and eliminate waste.  We further encourage the review of existing mandates.  

Implement health information technology:
  The Missouri Chamber encourages the development and usage of health information technology to allow the delivery of health care services to be less costly and more efficient. Such a system will allow information concerning a patient’s health history to be readily available and will assist in reducing the number of incidents of health service waste, errors, fraud and abuse. Accessibility will also lead to increased responsibility of individual health decisions. Individual patients should also have access and personal ownership of their health-related data in electronic format and at no time should this information be comprised for marketing purposes.   

Expand health care consumer education and meaningful transparency:  The Missouri Chamber will work to ensure that health care consumers can readily access health education and consumer information so they can evaluate and compare the pricing and quality of health care services and health insurance products in order to make informed decisions.

Support efforts to educate, train and retain quality health care providers and provide improved access for all Missourians:  Like many states, Missouri is facing a chronic shortage of quality healthcare providers, particularly in rural communities.  The Missouri Chamber supports efforts to recruit, educate, train and retain quality health care providers in Missouri.