Missouri Voters Pass Medicaid Expansion, Republicans May Not Pay For It

Missouri House Republicans blocked a measure on Tuesday to expand funding for Medicaid that would provide health insurance for thousands more in the state.

What We Know:

  • Last week, the Missouri House Budget Committee voted 20-9 along party lines to remove $130 million in funds from the Governor’s budget. According to NBC, the additional money would’ve been matched by $1.4 billion from the federal government, allowing 230,000 Missourians to receive coverage. During a statewide referendum in August, 53% of residents voted to pass a measure expanding Medicaid.
  • The expansion will go into effect on July 1st; because it is an amendment to the Missouri Constitution, the state will have to provide those newly eligible residents with coverage. However, without the extra funding, services will be severely diminished.
  • While more than half the state’s residents approved the referendum, Republican lawmakers assert the results don’t truly reflect a majority. Because urban areas dominated support for the expansion, Rep. Sara Walsh noted that “Rural Missouri said no.” She continued by saying, “I don’t believe it is the will of the people to bankrupt our state.”
  • The Missouri Hospital Association spoke in favor of the expansion. In a statement, Communications Director Dave Dillon called the blocking of funds a blow to low-income workers who sustained communities during the pandemic. “They were called “heroes” at the time,” said Dillon. “Lawmakers are essentially leaving them out in the cold.”

By expanding its eligibility, Missouri became the 37th state to do so. The expanded eligibility covers those making less than $17,000 individually and $30,000 for families.