It appears that many Missouri Legislators are willing jeopardize the health of 255,000 adults and the health of many Missouri hospitals.
The Affordable Care Act calls for the expansion of Medicaid to cover millions of low-income residents who can’t afford insurance. The cost of the expansion would mostly be covered by the federal government with states only required to kick in 5% of the total cost in 2017 increasing to 10% by 2020. This means that for every dollar of state money the federal government will spend $19.
In June, the Supreme Curt ruled that states could opt out of the Medicaid expansion and many Missouri law makers are suggesting that we should.
The Medicaid expansion in Missouri would cover an additional 255,000 people who are currently uninsured and the first six years of the expansion would cost the state $431 million but would bring in an additional $8.4 BILLION in federal money.
If Missouri law makers reject the Medicaid expansion, hospitals will be hit hard because the federal government currently pays hospitals to treat the uninsured. The health care law phases out these payments because the Medicaid expansion, in theory, decreases the number of uninsured (but only when a state participates with the expansion).
It’s no question that people with insurance tend to be healthier than those that don’t and that’s mostly because people with insurance have better access to care. By not participating in the expansion the health of 255,000 Missourians is in jeopardy. Jobs and job growth will also be in jeopardy because many Missouri hospitals will have a difficult time surviving with decreased reimbursement.
It may play well with constituents for legislators to say that they do not want to expand Medicaid but I doubt they will have much support for eliminating jobs in their district.
Nothing is as easy as it sounds…