Medicaid Transformation

Missouri lawmakers’ decision on Medicaid expansion will also have a far-reaching impact on every Missouri employer.

“The impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on employers is more far reaching than most can imagine.  Not only does it dramatically increase how much employers have to pay for health insurance coverage for their employees, it also is driving costs up on our state’s health care providers, some of the largest employers in Missouri,” Mehan said.

All health care providers will see radical cost shifts as a result of ACA and those cost shifts will be borne by Missouri employers in the form of higher insurance costs and taxes.  Some small health care providers, such as rural hospitals, will not be able to shift enough of the burden and may be forced to limit services or even close their doors.

“These are the cold, hard facts about Obamacare and these are the reasons the Missouri Chamber is advocating that Missouri expand its Medicaid program in order to recoup as many federal dollars as we can as a state to ease the blow,” Mehan explains.  “This is the only action the Legislature can take to make Obamacare better. We can block transformation on philosophical arguments, but the reality is this position is going to close hospitals’ doors. This is a chance to make the changes we want made to Medicaid without losing billions in taxes our citizens have already paid.”

Lawmakers vote to extend safety net for employers and workers: the Shared-Work Program

A program that helped more than 30,000 workers keep their jobs last year has been extended, thanks to action by Missouri lawmakers.  The Missouri Senate gave unanimous approval today to Senate Bill 844, legislation that extends the federal Shared-Work Program.  The Missouri House approved the bill yesterday on a vote of 143-4. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon, a Republican from Springfield.  SB 844 now heads to Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk for signature.

factory workerNearly 350 Missouri employers were able to avoid layoffs last year using the Shared-Work Program.  Instead of cutting staff, employers can reduce workers’ hours through the program, with wages lost to workers supplemented by partial unemployment benefits.

“This safety net allows companies to weather tough economic times without losing their skilled workforce.  At the same time, the program helps Missouri workers make ends meet,” said Dan Mehan, Missouri Chamber President and CEO. “In addition to supplementing lost wages, employees can also retain employer-provided benefits, such as health care.”

The program is a win-win for employers, workers and the state.  It is a proven method for keeping jobs in Missouri.

“Employer members have told us that the Shared-Work Program has helped many of them stay in business during tough times.  Companies and jobs saved are important to the state’s bottom line,” Mehan said.

When Missouri Chamber members were alerted that the Shared-Work Program was in jeopardy if this legislation was not passed, many reached out to their legislators and urged action. Their action played a key role in pushing the extension over the finish line.

Similar legislation, House Bill 1713, was sponsored by Rep. Jeanne Lauer.  Rep. Lauer provided leadership and support on her bill and SB 844.