Don Rone, 149th State Representative

Capitol Report

Don Rone lives in Portageville with his wife, Myra, served as mayor of Portageville for 10 years and as the New Madrid County public administrator. He was also in the Missouri National Guard and has farmed in New Madrid and Pemiscot counties over 40 years. He is a retired national accounts manager for FMC Corporation.

Weekly Capitol report

Thursday, November 23, 2017

New Interim Committee to Seek Solutions to Stabilize Missouri’s Health Insurance Markets

 A newly-formed group of lawmakers will spend the rest of the year looking at the direction health care should take in Missouri. House Speaker Todd Richardson recently created the Interim Committee on Stabilizing Missouri’s Health Insurance Markets for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of what changes at the federal level will mean to markets in the state.


The committee will extensively look at how the rollback of the Affordable Care Act will alter the health insurance climate in Missouri. Committee members will also work to determine if Missouri should pursue a federal waiver to sidestep requirements of the ACA and allow the state to have greater flexibility and stability for the health insurance market. Reviewing the state’s Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements law and looking at measures to stabilize small employer and individual insurance risk pools will also be priorities for the committee.


As the chair of the committee said, “In the wake of President Trump’s Executive Order, states have more flexibility in addressing the challenges created by the Affordable Care Act. The individual insurance market carries the highest burden of risk for insurers and the relating costs have sent it into a death spiral. The small employer insurance market is not far off from suffering the same fate. This committee will give us a great opportunity to thoroughly assess our current situation and then develop solutions that will give us a long-term plan to address health care financing concerns in Missouri.”


The committee began its work this week and will produce recommendations for the legislature to consider by the end of the year.


Task Force on Dyslexia Issues Recommendations

 A Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia has completed its work and released recommendations for having Missouri public school students screened for dyslexia.


The task force’s report to legislative leaders and the governor recommends that all students in kindergarten through grade three be screened for dyslexia and related disorders beginning in the 2018-19 school year.  It also recommends that students who have not been previously screened, and who have been identified as “struggling” in literacy, be screened.


The chair of the task force said early identification of reading difficulties is key to helping children get the education they need. She added, “By identifying and addressing this reading failure, students will not only be successful in school but successful in life.  If our children do not learn to read they will, and cannot, read to learn. This small investment today will have long-term benefits for not only students and families but for the economic and social benefits of our communities and for our state.”


The task force also recommends that schools require two hours of in-service training in assessing reading difficulties.  Currently schools are required only to offer such training.


The task force also says it is important that Missouri colleges’ and universities’ teacher education programs address dyslexia characteristics, identification, and intervention. As one task force member said, “It’s critically important that this content is delivered and infused in our teacher preparation courses at the colleges and universities in Missouri.”


The final report also says the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) should recommend a process for universal screening that includes a multi-tiered support system.  It stresses that districts should make clear to parents that a positive screening for dyslexia is not a diagnosis.


The Task Force was created with the passage of House Bill 2379 in 2016.  It required that public schools in Missouri screen for dyslexia and related disorders, and established that DESE would develop rules for screenings based on the Task Force’s recommendations.

In recognition of World Diabetes Day, leading experts in the field of community-based diabetes health care will discuss the devastating impact of the disease on individuals, both personally and financially, as well as the significant financial costs to the state. The event is scheduled to take place Tuesday, November 14 in the State Capitol.


More than 747,370 Missourians suffer from the consequences of diabetes, and the cost to the state surpasses $4.8 billion annually. Unmanaged diabetes is the cause of blindness, kidney failure and amputations in adults, and a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. People with diabetes spend 2.3 times more on health care costs than others without the disease. African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as Caucasians.


However, the debilitating consequences of diabetes and its cost can be mitigated with Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES), and Missouri is part of a national effort to provide this education to people with diabetes. DSMES teaches patients about, and assists them with, setting goals for proper nutrition, physical activity, regular check-ups with their physicians, glucose monitoring and consistent medication use. DSMES training for persons with diabetes improves their health and quality of life, and helps avoid the complications of the disease. Such training can reduce the chances of the most serious consequences by 8 percent and cut the chance of dying from the disease by 2.3 percent. High-risk persons or those with pre-diabetes are 11 percent less likely to develop the disease.


Legislators in Missouri are working to bring attention to the personal costs to Missourians with diabetes as well as the cost to the state. The DSMES project is focusing on rural and underserved communities in Missouri as well as the Medicare age population. Nearly one-third of persons 65 years and older have diabetes. About 13 percent of persons age 20 and older in the U.S. have diabetes, according to the National Institutes of Health.