INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Governor Jay Nixon says $1.8 billion dollars isn't money money Missouri should walk away from. Governor Nixon is pushing lawmakers to expaid Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act. He held a press conference in Independence Thursday afternoon to tout endorsements from both the Independence and Lee's Summit Chambers of Commerce.
"We shouldn't let last year's politics get in the way of next year's economic growth," he said. Governor Nixon says according to a University of Missouri study, Medicaid expansion could create 24,000 jobs in Missouri next year.
Medicaid expansion is the one component of Obama-care that the Supreme Court didn't uphold. It's up to states to expand health care coverage to the working poor and many Republicans are reluctant because of the cost. In Missouri the cost would be $1.8 billion in the first year with all of the cost picked up by the Federal Government for three years. In later years, states would assume ten percent of the cost. Lee's Summit Republican Will Kraus says a ten-percent co-pay is more than Missouri can afford, "We are you going to get the $180 million? Are you going to take that from education? Are you going to take that from the roads? I don't know where you're going to get that $180 million. We're $500 million behind in our funding formula right now."
Governor Nixon believes momentum is moving in his direction, pointing out that six Republican Governors have agreed to expand Medicaid for the working poor.
"In my view this transcends politics, across the country we are seeing governors and legislatures put last year's politics aside and do what's undeniably best for their states," he said.
Republicans control both the House and the Senate in Missouri. In order to expand Medicaid for families of four with a yearly income of $32,000, Missouri lawmakers would have to agree before the Legislative Session ends in mid-May.