New report: Progress on Medicaid would help working Missourians

As the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry continues to push for a Missouri solution to Medicaid reform, a new study shows that such a solution would benefit the state’s working individuals and families.

Currently, Missouri has not agreed to accept up to $2 billion in annual federal funding to give 350,000 Missourians access to health care. A problem with Obamacare has left these Missourians with few options for receiving health care.

FamiliesUSA, a national health care organization, studied these 350,000 Missourians to see who they represent. They found that 60 percent of these people are either working or have worked within the last year.

“These are hardworking Missourians; people in our communities who we all know such as barbers, hairstylists, grocery clerks, dental assistants and others,” said Brendan Cossette, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce. “These people were left out in the cold by Obamacare. But now, our state has an opportunity to help make sure this important segment of our workforce has access to health care.”

An additional 20 percent are individuals who are not in the workforce at all due to being a student, having a disability, living with a working spouse or having chosen to leave the workforce. The remaining 20 percent are unemployed Missourians.

The working Missourians who would be helped by Medicaid reform serve in a wide variety of professions: food service, sales, cleaning, administrative support, transportation, construction, personal care, production and health care support.

“In fact, expanding Medicaid would give hundreds of thousands of working Missourians acces to affordable health insurance,” according to the FamiliesUSA report (link: http://familiesusa.org/sites/default/files/product_documents/MCD_Missouri%20Medicaid%20gap%20and%20employment_web_v2.pdf). “That will create a healthier workforce. A healthier workforce is a more productive workforce, and that would benefit Missouri employers.”

The report also argues that the additional $2 billion in federal funding will boost the state’s economy.

“The Medicaid expansion will do more than give many Missourians access to health insurance: It will provide needed economic stimulus,” according to the report. “The federal government pays for just over 63 percent of the current Medicaid program, and the state pays the rest. For the expansion, federal funding is much more generous: The federal government will pay all of the costs of the expansion through 2016. The federal share will then gradually fall to 90 percent in 2020, where it will stay.”

In accepting the federal funding, the Missouri Chamber favors a plan that would tie Medicaid dollars to reforms to the state’s welfare programs.

For more information about health care legislation, contact Cossette at bcossette@mochamber.com or by phone at 573-634-3511.

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