Missouri: Additional Funding Proposed For Women's Health

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Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt (R) on Tuesday said that during the next state Legislative session he will propose nearly $2.5 million in additional funding "specifically dedicated" to expanding health services for more than 80,000 women and increasing access to breast and cervical cancer screenings, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Blunt is recommending a $500,000 increase in funding for Show Me Healthy Women -- a program that provides no-cost breast and cervical cancer screenings. The proposed funds will allow the program to provide services to an additional 1,500 women in the state, the Post-Dispatch reports (Mannies, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12/18). The governor also plans to ask state lawmakers to appropriate $200,000 to launch the state's women's health care program to cover the annual costs of health exams and cancer screenings for low-income women in the state during this budget year.

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Blunt said that, in the next budget, he will seek an additional $2 million in state money, as well as $10.9 million in federal funds, for the women's health care program. These funds will pay for an expansion of family planning services offered under the state's Medicaid family planning waiver. Family planning waiver requests must be approved by CMS before they can be implemented. If approved, the program would pay for pelvic exams, cancer screenings and family planning services for an estimated 82,500 low-income women ages 18 and older who do not have employer-sponsored health insurance (Lieb, AP/Daily Journal, 12/19).

According to Blunt, these services previously were available only to new mothers with incomes up to 185% of the federal poverty level. He added that the additional funding will "expand access to all low-income women on Mo HealthNet, not just new or expectant mothers" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12/18).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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