Three New Interim Committees Created
On Wednesday, the Senate Pro Tem Ron Richard announced the formation of three new interim committees to study specific policies while the legislature is on summer recess.
The first committee, Senate Interim Committee on MO HealthNet Pharmacy Benefits, has been formed to dive into the ever increasing costs of pharmacy benefits in MO HealthNet. This became a hot button issue during this year’s appropriations process when the Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman, Kurt Schaefer, brought light to the fact that the pharmacy specific line item in HB 2011 went from a $900 million line five years ago, to now over $1.8 billion. There has been a growing consensus ever since that this line will have to be reined in so not every new dollar of general revenue the state brings in will go to the Department of Social Services.
Interim Committee on Long-term Care was also formed in order to discuss how care can better be delivered in the state’s long-term care facilities. In addition, this committee will also be tasked at taking a closer look at the need for a new veterans home. It is expected that the committee will discuss the certificate of need process, which facilities are required to go through in order to prove need prior to building a new assisted living, residential care or skilled nursing facility. There was a push this past legislative session to place a three year moratorium on the approval of new projects and to establish a task force to study the certificate of need process, but the legislation ultimately failed due to several members opposition during Senate floor debate.
The final committee the Missouri Senate leader formed was the Senate Interim Committee on Utility Regulation and Infrastructure Investment. This comes after several failed attempts to update Missouri’s regulatory structure for the various utilities in the past. Senator Ron Richard added the committee should look at changing these regulations separately versus in one larger piece of legislation. Senator Ryan Silvey, who led the charge on passing the legislation, was chosen as the Vice-Chairman of the Committee.
Click here to read about the various interim committees that will be meeting over the summer.