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Missouri to face 'grim reality' if FRA program not extended

Posted at 4:28 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 18:28:56-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri will face a “grim reality” if Federal Reimbursement Allowances and related programs are not extended by noon Tuesday, according to Gov. Mike Parson.

“To be clear, this means we would need to close a nearly $1.4 billion funding gap over the next two years,” Parson said during a news conference Monday afternoon. “Meaning investments in our state through education, workforce development and infrastructure would have to be put on hold. And that is frankly unacceptable.”

The General Assembly adjourned in May without passing the extension. Failure to extend the FRA before July 1 would cost the state $591 million in fiscal year 2022 and $788 million in FY 23, Parson said.

Legislators must extend FRA or budget restrictions will be made across the state government, affecting all Missourians, he said.

Affected areas include K-12 and higher education; funding increases to community colleges and four-year universities; capital improvement projects; school safety planning; A+ and dual credit programs; career-center improvements; school transportation; social services; health care; nursing homes and independent living centers; emergency management service providers; and health care providers who serve people who have developmental disabilities.

The FRA program, according to Parson, “reduces the burden” of MO Healthnet expenses on the state and “maximizes federal dollars coming into our state.”

“Without the extension of FRA and other allowances, revenues that are used to balance the fiscal year ’22 budget will simply not exist,” Parson said.

Some members of the General Assembly, according to Parson, expressed concern about coverage for birth control and other contraceptives through MO Healthnet as not being pro-life. Parson said Monday that he disagreed with that viewpoint.

“Let me be clear. I am pro life. I have supported pro-life measures my whole career and always will,” Parson said. “However, narrow political interests cannot be allowed to hold hostage vital health care funding and the success of our economy.”

The governor also called on the General Assembly to “deliver and protect all Missourians.”

Parson held the press conference from the State Capitol.