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Report Touts Economic Benefits of Medicaid Expansion in Missouri

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230,000 Missourians would gain health-care coverage under Medicaid expansion. (AdobeStock)
230,000 Missourians would gain health-care coverage under Medicaid expansion. (AdobeStock)
June 15, 2020

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- New data suggests that Missouri continues to miss out on the benefits of Medicaid expansion.

According to a study released by the Missouri Foundation for Health, net new health care spending and the reduction of state government spending on MO HealthNet would generate a multitude of positive impacts on the state's economy.

Vice President of Health Policy with the organization Sheldon Weisgrau said an estimated increase of $2.5 billion in economic output for the state is just the beginning.

"A $1.6 billion increase in gross domestic product and about a $1.1 billion increase in personal income," Weisgrau said. "And the increase in personal income is about $500 for every Missouri Household."

The report also predicted an increase of 16,000-plus jobs between 2022 and 2026 if the state were to expand Medicaid under the 2014 Affordable Care Act to serve adults earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level.

Weisgrau noted this research is consistent with the experiences of many of the 36 states that have adopted Medicaid expansion. He said the government pays 90% of the costs.

"Missouri essentially has left money on the table all these years," he said. "This program returns Missourians' tax money to the state to be spent in the state on healthcare services."

He said the economic benefits of Medicaid expansion are just a beneficial side effect of a program that provides health care coverage.

"More than 200,000 Missourians would gain health insurance coverage under Medicaid expansion," Weisgrau said, "which also leads to improvements in their health and mental health, improves our ability to work and keep jobs. The benefits really go across a lot of factors."

If approved by voters on August 4, Constitutional Amendment 2 would expand Medicaid in Missouri, extending coverage to roughly 230,000 adults. Opponents argue the program is unsustainable and the cost of expansion would take away funding from other crucial budget areas.

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - MO