Sen. Kit Bond and the Missouri Chamber push for Medicaid funding

In 2014, Missouri will forgo $2 billion in federal dollars that could have been used to improve the health of Missouri’s working poor, warned former U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond during a panel discussion on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at Missouri Chamber Day at the Capital in Jefferson City. He highlighted the importance of passing legislation that would allow Missouri to expand and reform its Medicaid system.

“Since I served as Governor and later in the U.S. Senate, I fought to send Missouri tax dollars home, not to watch our state sit on the sidelines and lose $2 billion in federal funds,” Sen. Bond said.  “By acting this year, we can put those dollars to work reforming Medicaid, protecting access to health care and safeguarding our budget.”

Former U.S. Sen. Kit Bond

Former U.S. Sen. Kit Bond

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been working with lawmakers to help secure passage of the expansion this year.

“No matter what, our tax dollars are being sent to Washington D.C. for the Affordable Care Act,” said Brendan Cossette, Missouri Chamber director of legislative affairs. “We are a lot better off having those dollars come back to Missouri rather than have them be spent in our neighboring states. We should be bringing those dollars home to help our state and our economy.”

During the panel presentation, the economic impact of forgoing $2 billion dollars was put in perspective:

  • $2 billion is the annual food cost for 263,713 Missouri households.
  • $2 billion is equal to Missouri’s annual sales and use tax collections.
  • $2 billion is the value of all corn production in Missouri.

There is a strong business case for expanding Medicaid to allow Missouri to secure federal funding and extend health care coverage to 300,000 additional Missourians.

“Reforming our health system for the working poor would allow better access to care for uninsured Missourians — reducing absenteeism and increasing worker productivity,” said Dan Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “It would allow hard working Missourians who earn a low wage to stay on the job.  That’s good for workers and the state as a whole.”

In addition, a refusal to expand the program this year would create additional stress on the state’s hospitals, especially rural hospitals. To cope, they would likely be forced to pass on the burden to private insurers, who would then pass it to Missouri businesses and policyholders.

“People are still going to be getting sick. They are still going to be showing up in hospitals in emergency departments across the state,” Cossette said. “Unfortunately, without Medicaid expansion, these costs are going to be shifted from hospitals to employers who provide private insurance.”

Mehan pointed out that Missouri can’t let another year go by without action.

“Missouri is leaving a lot of money on the table in 2014,” Mehan said. “If the state doesn’t extend coverage to Missouri’s working poor this year, we’ll have another year where taxpayer dollars from Missouri go to other states to improve their health and health care systems while the costs of the uninsured are shifted to businesses and individuals. That’s a lose-lose proposition.”


Media Advisory


The Hon. U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond will be part of a panel discussing the next steps that will be taken to secure Medicaid expansion and reforms during the 2014 Legislative Session.  The presentation will be at the 2014 Missouri Chamber Day Conference being held at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 25, 2014.  Sen. Bond will allow media availability immediately following his presentation, which runs from 9:15 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Medicaid expansion and reform will be one of several legislative topics that will be covered during the annual conference. (A full agenda is attached.)  Later in the day, attendees of the conference will go to the Capitol to engage in grassroots lobbying by visiting their local legislators. 

The purpose of the Missouri Chamber Day is to provide employers with a forum for discussing legislative priorities and the opportunity to discuss these priorities with their state senators and representatives.

The media is welcome to attend any portion of the event.  Twitter hashtag:  #mochamberday 

Missouri Chamber Day at the Capitol
February 25, 2014


8:30 a.m. Registration

9:00 a.m. Welcome
Dan Mehan, President & CEO, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry

9:15 a.m. Medicaid Reform Pays Off – Here’s How
Hon. Christopher S. “Kit” Bond
, former U.S. Senator for Missouri
Brendan Cossette
, Director of Legislative Affairs, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry

10:00 a.m. Making the Case for Economic Development
John Mehner, President & CEO, Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce
Rob O’Brian, President, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce

10:30 a.m. Networking Break

10:45 a.m. Fostering Entrepreneurship
Jason Hall, Vice President Business Development and Corporate Counsel, St. Louis Regional Chamber
Paul Schwetz, President of Greater Missouri Imaging
Dane Stangler, Vice President of Research & Policy, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

11:30 a.m. Federal Update from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
John Gonzales, Sr. Manager, Congressional and Public Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

11:45 a.m. Luncheon and Keynote Speaker
Susan Stagner, Vice President, State Relations, Connections Academy

12:45 p.m. Lobbying Strategy at the Capitol
Tracy King, Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry

1:00 p.m. Walk to Missouri Capitol Building House Lounge

1:30 p.m. Welcome to the Missouri Capitol
Sen. Mike Kehoe, Assistant Majority Floor Leader, Missouri Senate
Rep. John Diehl, Majority Floor Leader, Missouri House of Representatives

2:00-4:30 p.m. Grass Roots Lobbying
Participants will disperse to the Missouri Capitol Building for grass roots lobbying and to watch debate on key issues in the Missouri House and Senate galleries.

2:00 p.m. (Optional) Observe Debate in House Gallery (if in session)

4:00 p.m. (Optional) Observe Debate in Senate Gallery (if in session)