Show-Me Health Coverage
An article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch outlines a health care proposal that passed the Missouri Senate last week. Like other health spending proposals, the plan would pay for medical treatment for people who meet certain income requirements. There are two unusual features to this bill, though. First, it limits participation in the program to three years (or five years for some students). Needless to say, lobbyists are appalled:
Lobbyist Amy Blouin, who represents the Missouri Budget Project, called the time limit “horrifying. It’s kind of like you can only be healthy for three years.”
It’s not really like that, since the program doesn’t even exist right now, and nobody is saying you can’t be healthy. On the contrary, we have government programs in place to help people pay for health care. But the lobbyists needn’t be so worried, because I’m guessing that if Show-Me Health Coverage does become law, the limits would be lifted quickly. Politicians are wont to introduce new programs as temporary measures, only to quietly make them permanent once they’re established.
Here’s the second aspect of the proposal that’s worthy of note:
Adults at higher income levels could eventually join the program but would be required to make deposits into health savings accounts.
If the program could help people transition from temporary assistance to permanent health savings accounts (HSAs), that would go above and beyond what the typical state program does. It remains to be seen whether HSAs will take a central role in this or other programs, but at the very least, it shows how much progress HSA advocates have made. HSAs are no longer just a crazy idea; they’re mainstream policy.