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Groups: "Yes" to Medicaid = Surplus for MO Budget

GRAPH: Projected Medicaid spending over 2011-2020 has fallen by more than $200 billion since Aug. 2010. Chart by Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, based on CBO figures.
GRAPH: Projected Medicaid spending over 2011-2020 has fallen by more than $200 billion since Aug. 2010. Chart by Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, based on CBO figures.
March 25, 2013

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Health care providers, patients, and some chambers of commerce in Missouri are hoping to convince Republican lawmakers that rejecting the Medicaid expansion could hurt Missouri's economy. GOP governors in eight other states have already dropped their opposition to expanding Medicaid, and Dave Dillon with the Missouri Hospital Association wants Missouri's Republican majority to do the same. He said it would bring in billions of dollars that could really help the state's economy.

"We show that, basically, Missouri runs a surplus because of those dollars, beginning in 2014," he explained.

Gov. Nixon wants to expand Medicaid and accept the federal money, which pays 100 percent of the expansion cost for three years, but GOP leaders have said they are afraid the federal government could cut its funding and leave Missouri to pay the bill. However, because the Congressional Budget Office has found that Medicaid costs are going down substantially, analysts have said the federal government should be able to uphold its commitment to the program.

Edwin Park, vice president for health policy with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, pointed out that Medicaid is an extremely lean program, possibly the cheapest of its kind.

"To cover the same person, Medicaid costs 27 percent less for kids and 20 percent less for adults than covering them in private insurance," Park said.

With one in seven Missourians lacking access to health services, Paula Gianino, president, Planned Parenthood St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, sees no reason for the legislature's continued opposition.

"There are about 300,000 Missourians who would be eligible. And, by an independent study that was done by the University of Missouri, it is believed that 24,000 new jobs would be created. Most of those would be very high-paying jobs in health care."

Without Medicaid expansion, Gianino says low-income Missourians could lose access to cancer screenings, contraceptives and basic preventive care. The Affordable Care Act allows states to modify their Medicaid programs, and some Republican lawmakers are discussing reforms that might make Medicaid expansion an option they can support.

More information is available from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, http://www.offthechartsblog.org/.

Mary Anne Meyers, Public News Service - MO