Representative Harlan's bill would allow small employers to obtain medical coverage through the Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan, which currently only covers state employees.
A series of amendments have delayed a House vote on the bill, which opponents fear will raise rates for state employees and cause independent insurance agents to lose business. Representative Tim Harlan.Opponents of the bill include Alliance Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Missouri Insurance Coalition and Missouri Chamber of Commerce. Deliberations on the bill will continue Monday. From the Capital, this is Caroline Noel.
A vote on Representative Harlan's bill to allow state employers to obtain health insurance has been delayed by several amendments, the sponsors of which are directly affiliated with insurance companies. Representative HarlanBill opponents Ron Auer and Mark Elliott respectively work for Group Health Plan, a St. Louis-based HMO and the Missouri Farm Bureau.
Representative Elliott argues that his proximity to the insurance industry does not pose a conflict of interest, but rather gives him expertise in the subject. Elliott says he opposes the bill because it may jeopardize state employees' rates and does not guarantee lower premiums to small business employers. Elliott characterized Harlan's remarks as sneaky and dishonest.
Debate on this issue continues Monday. From Jefferson City this is Caroline Noel.