Legislators begin work on bills to expand and transform Medicaid

With Missouri employers still on the hook for potentially billions of dollars in new health care costs, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry continues to strongly advocate for the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program.

Studies last year by the Missouri Hospital Association and The Commonwealth Fund showed that by not expanding our state’s Medicaid program, Missouri is missing out on billions of dollars in federal funding. This funding would provide expanded health insurance coverage for low income Missourians.

Without expanded coverage, these Missourians will continue to access health care at hospitals. However, hospitals will be forced to pass on these costs to businesses and workers who are privately insured.

“Whether or not you agree with the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, expanding Medicaid is critical to the health of our state’s hospitals, especially those in rural communities. Failing to expand Medicaid could be a fatal blow to some of these essential providers in our state,” said Brendan Cossette, ‎Director of Legislative Affairs/Associate General Counsel at the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “We are also stressing that the federal taxes Missourians are paying to support expansion nationwide are currently not coming back to help our own citizens. No matter what, we are paying for this. The Missouri Chamber believes our state should accept our share of this assistance.”

There are several bills currently filed in the General Assembly that could be used as vehicles to expand Missouri’s Medicaid coverage and accept the federal funding. One of these bills, Senate Bill 518, sponsored by Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, was heard in the Senate Committee on Seniors, Families and Pensions on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington, has also filed Senate Bill 739. This bill includes recommendations submitted in mid-December by a special committee that studied Medicaid reform and transformation last summer and fall. Sen. Romine’s bill has yet to be assigned to a committee.

During his annual State of the State address, Gov. Jay Nixon again called for immediate action by the legislature to expand Medicaid.

“We all know there are problems with Obamacare, and Washington’s implementation of it has been abysmal,” Gov. Nixon said. “But rejecting Medicaid won’t fix any of those things. It won’t keep Missourians from having to pay federal taxes, or exempt our businesses from new requirements under the law. Instead, by standing still, we’re making the things we don’t like about Obamacare even worse, forcing Missourians to bear all the costs of this law – and reap none of the benefits.”

For more information about health care legislation and the Missouri Chamber’s ongoing efforts to expand Medicaid, contact Brendan‎ Cossette at bcossett@mochamber.com or by phone at 573-634-3511.

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About mochamber

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry understands that the quality of life in our state depends on quality jobs for Missourians. To that end, we have one simple mission: to protect and advance Missouri business.

One thought on “Legislators begin work on bills to expand and transform Medicaid

  1. I voted against Medicare expansion because I didn’t want to pay for both Medicare expansion AND the Affordable Care Act, but realizing the gap between the two it’s imperative that they overlap some until the bugs are worked out. I’m still against the people paying for birth control and contraception against our will as many conservatives are and is in large part responsible for the unpopularity for Obamacare.

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