Missouri to decide on Medicaid expansion

Jul 2, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling, upholding the federal health law, has provided more clarity to the region and country. 

Although the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld most of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, Missouri and other states now have the option of whether or not to expand their Medicaid eligibility, instead of it being a requirement. Ryan Barker, with the Missouri Foundation for Health, estimates that the decision in Missouri would affect between 250,000 and 300,000 residents who don’t have insurance. Barker says a person must currently make little or no money to be eligible.

"So say single mom, two kids" says Barker, "for her to be eligible for Medicaid in Missouri, she has to make less than $3500 a year currently. That’s about 18 percent of the federal poverty level. The expansion of Medicaid in the ACA would have taken that up to 133 percent of poverty, which would be about $25,000. It would also create a brand new category for childless adults."

Roy Blunt, Republican U.S. Senator for Missouri, says expanding the program would be too big of a burden:  “States are already struggling to pay current Medicaid costs,” says Blunt. “Education funding is going down in many states every year, including ours in the last three years.”   If states do participate in the expansion, the federal government would fully subsidize it for the first three years. Then, states would pick up about ten percent of the costs.  Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has not commented on the situation.