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Missouri House stops bill on newborn care

Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Missouri House defeated legislation Thursday that would charge a panel of medical professionals with developing medical care standards for newborns after a Republican doctor compared the bill to the federal health care law.

The Republican-led House voted 80-72 in opposition to the bill after Rep. Keith Frederick, an orthopedic surgeon from Rolla, said it was government control of medicine in line with the Affordable Care Act. Thursday's vote came one day after the House successfully amended the same proposal onto a Senate bill.

Supporters said the legislation would provide better newborn or perinatal care and would cut down on premature births and lower infant mortality rates. Under the proposal, a 15-member advisory council appointed by the governor would create standards for hospitals to follow when caring for newborns.

"This is, first and foremost, an effort to increase the quality of perinatal care in the state," said Rep. Jeff Grisamore, R-Lee's Summit. "It is not a mandate. It is not a big government takeover and has absolutely nothing to do with Obamacare."

The council would develop guidelines that would address patient transportation, unexpected complications during delivery, high-risk pregnancies and reporting procedures.

But Frederick said the council would substantially affect patient care. He said it was "central planning" and added that it could start a negative trend.

"It's, 'The government knows better how to manage these complicated cases than the individual practitioners do,'" he said about the legislation.

Missouri voters have twice rejected two key parts of the federal health care law.

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