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Legislative Session Update - Week 6

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Water Surcharge
This week, the House Committee that oversees utility legislation passed House Bill 2094 to expand infrastructure replacement surcharges for the private monopoly water utility, Missouri American Water. In the House, there has been concern over expansion of this surcharge, which led to a reduction in the cap on the proposed surcharge from 15% of a customer’s bill to 10%.

AARP is opposed to any surcharge that operates outside the regular and expansive review contained in rate cases before the Public Service Commission (PSC). The water surcharge, specifically, would charge residential customers in St. Louis County, who have paid for a near complete replacement of their water infrastructure already, to continue to pay for pipe and facility replacements throughout the rest of the Missouri American Water service areas throughout the state.

Changing the Rules for Medicaid Expansion
This week, the House Committee on Health and Mental Health passed House Joint Resolution 92, sponsored by Representative Steve Helms (R-Springfield), which proposes a Constitutional Amendment to require that any health care related amendment to the Constitution would require a 2/3 vote.

While this amendment is obviously targeted at the Medicaid Expansion Initiative, it could have drastic consequences in the future. If the voters wish to take action on reducing the cost of prescription drugs, increase access to long term care, or demand oversight of bad actors in health care, they would find making those changes to the Constitution nearly impossible.

Long Term Care Savings
This week, the Missouri Senate passed Senate Bill 580, sponsored by Senator Mike Cierpiot (R-Lees Summit) that would use tax incentives to encourage savings for Long Term Care.

Currently, over 60% of long term care costs are covered by Medicaid, which is the most costly service currently provided through our Medicaid program.

Encouraging people to save is essential. The only thing that AARP would add to this important legislation is that there should be a “public option” similar to the Missouri MOST 529 plan that would serve as a check and balance to private plans to keep costs low while protecting savings. We would suggest that such a plan be controlled by State Treasurer Fitzpatrick and those who choose that option be given the same tax benefits as those who invest in private options.

In the News: Missouri Senate Backs Tax Break for Long-Term Care Savings

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