Missouri talks Medicaid expansion

Jun 6, 2014

Credit Maureen Lewis-Stump

Medicaid expansion has been a widely talked about subject throughout the state of Missouri. Medicaid is federally funded state healthcare program for those that do not make enough money to be their own healthcare, or their employer does not provide it for them.

The Medicaid policy in place now only covers those who make less than $4,500 a year total for a family of four. It also allows subsidies paid to those who make more than $89,000 a year. Those in between this gap are left without health insurance.

Currently, legislators are trying to pass an expansion bill that will help out thousands of Missourians with health insurance. Brendan Cossette is the Director of Government Affairs for the Missouri Primary Care Association. He spoke to the Muleskinners Democratic Party of Missouri Friday at their weekly meeting.

Cossette's main goal of speaking at this meeting was to educate the listeners on the expansion bill and answer any questions they might have regarding why it is not getting passed, among other things. He believes that once legislators understand where the money is coming from, they will be more apt to pass it.

"One of the concerns is the cost of the current Medicaid program, but the difference is when and if we do Medicaid expansion, it won't be state dollars that will be used to pay for it, it will be mostly federal dollars. Missouri tax-payers already pay this money into the Federal government and it's getting spent somewhere else. So, we sure as heck might as well get it to come back to the state and pay for our folks," Cosette said.

Wiley Miller is the first vice president of the Muleskinners. He believes there is a tremendous need for Medicaid expansion in Missouri.

"We have people who are suffering terribly because they have no healthcare coverage. Ultimately, it costs them and all of us much more than it would if they had adequate coverage," Miller said.

He added that it is important to go to events like this because understanding what Medicaid expansion is about is key.

"Many people have been misinformed terribly and do not understand what a tremendous benefit this would be." Cosette is hoping to inform more people about what Medicaid expansion is and start more conversation about it in the upcoming legislature sessions.