Attempt to add Medicaid expansion to House budget proposal

Missourinet

Thursday, March 13, 2014

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The House Budget Committee has twice voted down expansion of Medicaid.

The Committee voted to send to the full House its proposal for the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Representative Jill Schupp (D-Creve Coeur) offered a set of amendments to accept federal money to expand Medicaid eligibility to about 300,000 lower-income Missourians.

With the vote to reject the first amendment effectively having made the offer of the second amendment moot, Schupp explained why she offered it anyway.

“I take advantage of every opportunity I have to talk about the importance of the expansion of Medicaid in the state of Missouri. Our hospitals – particularly our rural hospitals – our social workers, our Missouri Chamber, our doctors, our do-gooders and most importantly the people of Missouri have said, ‘Do this. Take care of the people in need. Do it now because time is wasting.’”

Representative Jeremy LaFaver (D-Kansas City), who has all session long posted outside his Capitol office door a running total of how much federal money the state could have received if it had accepted Medicaid expansion, offered the Committee an update.

“As of this minute, our failure to expand Medicaid has resulted in a loss of three-hundred and fifty-nine million, seven hundred and eighty-two thousand, three hundred … four hundred … sorry, five hundred … six hundred now … six hundred and ninety dollars, and every day that we choose to not expand Medicaid we continue lose another $5-million.”

The amendments were rejected on voice votes by the Republicans on the committee. Missouri Legislative Republicans have maintained that accepting Medicaid expansion would mean continuing to invest state tax dollars into what they consider a broken system. No Republicans commented on the issue in the hearing.

Republican legislation that proposes reforms and some expansion of Medicaid was heard last week in a House Committee.

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