Analyst says opting out of Medicaid expansion could most affect rural Missourians

Dec 20, 2012

Rural Missourians may be disproportionately impacted if the state decides to opt out of Medicaid expansion during the 2013 legislative session. That’s according to a policy analyst with the Missouri Foundation for Health.

Thomas McAuliffe, a policy analyst with the Missouri Foundation for Health, says that under the rules of the Affordable Care Act people at the poverty line or making upwards of four times it would qualify for federal subsidies to purchase insurance.

Credit jodimarr / Flickr

Speaking on KBIA’s Intersection this week, McAuliffe said that if the state opts out of Medicaid expansion individuals and families falling below the poverty limit wouldn’t be required to purchase insurance. But they also wouldn’t receive any assistance if they wanted to buy insurance. As a result, he says rural areas could be hit hard: “How do rural providers in rural hospitals keep functioning when those most vulnerable populations that they serve will not have insurance.?” He said. “It’s a big problem.”

Andrew Quint, who also appeared on the show, is the medical director of Columbia’s Family Health Center. He says that hospitals would also soon be losing federal funds provided to them to help pay for uncompensated care: “So I see it as a real disaster for the hospitals. Not just the rural hospitals, but all the hospitals that provide uncompensated care.”

Some Republican lawmakers have argued that the state cannot afford Medicaid expansion and warn that could increase the burden on future taxpayers.