Governor Nixon To Support Medicaid Expansion

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Governor Jay Nixon will make an announcement Thursday morning at Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., showing his support for an expansion of Medicaid as part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

The Governor originally expressed his support for Medicaid expansion during his first run for governor in 2008, but during this last election cycle, he remained non-commital on this issue.  But a new report released by the University of Missouri School of Medicine gives the Governor the ammunition he needs to state his case.

According to the report, the federal government would pay Missouri $8.2 billion to expand Medicaid.  From 2014-2020, Missouri would contribute $332.9 million to pay for the expansion.  Some lawmakers are balking at that cost, but the report says new taxes by new hires would more than pay for it. The report predicts Medicaid expansion would create 24,008 jobs by 2014 – 4,236 in the Kansas City metro area –  and those workers would pay an additional $856 million in state and local taxes from 2014-2020.

Opting in would also raise the eligibility for families to enroll in Medicaid.  Anyone at or below 138% of the federal poverty level could enroll for Medicaid health benefits.  For example, a family of four bringing in less than $31,809 would be eligible.  The study predicts an additional 161,281 Missourians would enroll in Medicaid by 2020.

The report also predicts that families not enrolled in Medicaid would also see savings in their health care costs.  With the federal government paying for added services, the report says families can expect to see a savings of $1,688 from their private insurer between 2014-2020.

Some lawmakers are doubtful of these numbers and remain concerned about the costs of paying for the Medicaid expansion.  Some believe health care costs will actually go up, while others don’t want the federal government intruding in their constituents health care.  But if Missouri lawmakers decide to not expand Medicaid, the state would lose the $8.2 billion dollars sitting there for them to take.  Many states have threatened to opt out of expanding Medicaid, but now that President Obama has been re-elected for a second term, some of those states are considering opting in, including Missouri.

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