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Governor calls special session over Medicaid tax to start Wednesday

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson will waste no time getting lawmakers into a special session to extend a tax on medical providers that helps fund Medicaid.

Parson announced Tuesday that he has called a special session to start at noon Wednesday to extend the Federal Reimbursement Allowance -- a tax on health care providers that helps fund the state's Medicaid program, MO HealthNet.

The move comes after Parson held a news conference Monday to say that he had given legislators a noon Tuesday deadline to reach a deal on extension of the tax that could be passed during a special session. Parson said the consequences of not extending the FRA would be dire, requiring hundreds of millions of state dollars to be diverted from other programs over the next fiscal year to shore up Medicaid.

Parson said Tuesday that he planned to cut $722 million in state spending in fiscal 2022, which begins July 1, and another $788 million in fiscal 2023. A deal to extend the FRA would make those cuts unnecessary, he said.

Parson's special session call includes legislation prohibiting Medicaid funding for abortion drugs and devices and "abortion facilities," the governor's office said in a news release.

The legislature failed to extend the FRA during the regular session amid battles over whether to fund certain types of contraception and payments to Planned Parenthood through the state's Medicaid program. A group of seven conservative senators sent a letter to Parson on Tuesday saying they had reached a compromise that would extend the FRA and asking for the special session. A statement about the letter was released to media just before noon.

The senators said in a statement that they want a bill that will not use taxpayer money to fund abortions.

"The passage of legislation protecting the unborn will clear the way for the senators to support renewal of the Federal Reimbursement Allowance (FRA) program with no stipulations," the senators said in a statement.

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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