By CEO/Executive Director Laura Gray
The Missouri Budget Project reported at the conclusion of the legislative session: “Moreover, lawmakers failed to take advantage of the opportunity to expand eligibility for Medicaid. Not only did the proposal have broad bipartisan support, it carried with it the strong support of diverse interests. Chambers of Commerce throughout the state, hospitals, health providers, health advocates and consumers came together to support expansion, which would provide at least 267,000 Missourians with access to health care, boost Missouri’s economy with an influx of federal funds, and reduce existing costs to state general revenue – strengthening the entire state budget as a result.”
Opponents stated that Missouri cannot afford the cost of expanding coverage. The Missouri Budget Project estimates that, because the federal government would pick up many costs, expanding Medicaid would save Missouri $140M in fiscal 2016 and 2017 and $30M per year thereafter.
Because Medicaid wasn’t expanded, the parents in our fragile homeless families have no insurance coverage unless they get it from an employer or meet the current criteria for Medicaid. However, an adult in a household of three has to have less than $307 per month in income to receive Medicaid under the existing criteria. That means they will use the emergency room for primary care. Hospitals will have to eat the cost of emergency care and adults won’t get routine medical care. It also means that an untreated illness has the potential to cause them to lose a job and again be at risk for homelessness.