JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri senators advanced a bill to renew a key tax for Medicaid funding late Friday after hours of debate over coverage of family planning services.
The GOP-led Senate in a voice vote gave the tax bill initial approval. The bill needs another Senate vote to move to the House.
Senators were able to advance the bill after some Republicans joined with Democrats to vote down a proposal by GOP Sen. Bob Onder that sought to cut off any government money for Planned Parenthood.
Missouri already bans any Medicaid funding from being used to pay for abortions. But the Missouri Supreme Court last year overturned another provision in a state budget law forbidding Medicaid reimbursements to any Planned Parenthood clinic, even those that don’t provide abortions.
“No taxpayer should be forced to participate in the evil of abortion,” Onder told colleagues during debate on the Senate floor Friday.
Onder framed his proposal as a test of fellow Republicans’ beliefs on abortion, which GOP Sen. Mike Cierpiot called “outrageous.”
Cierpiot was among several Republicans who raised concerns that blocking all Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood, without first getting a waiver from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, could violate federal rules and put billions of dollars in federal Medicaid funding at risk.