During last week’s annual State of the State speech, Gov. Jay Nixon once again made the economic case for expanding Medicaid to about 300,000 working Missourians who make too little to afford health insurance, but too much to get it for free.
Governor Nixon quoted from a letter written by Paul Taylor explaining why he was moving jobs from Missouri to Arkansas. “The reason we are hiring in Arkansas and laying off in Missouri is that Arkansas chose to expand Medicaid … and Missouri did not,” says the letter . “I fear that Missouri will never recover the ground it is now losing statewide as a result of political posturing.”
Nixon’s budget office estimates that 300,000 uninsured Missourians would be eligible for coverage under Medicaid expansion. The state would save $81 million in expenses and see $36.4 million in additional revenue in the next fiscal year alone. The state will also see job creation which means payroll taxes and sales tax increase because newly hired Missourians will have money to spend on goods and services.
You can be sure that the debate over Medicaid Expansion will heighten in the coming months. The potential health and economic benefit of expanding Medicaid in Missouri is well documented but opposition to expansion is rooted in ideology and rhetoric. Hopefully members of both camps will get around the table and work for a compromise because politics should never interfere with care for the patient…