New report says Medicaid expansion would be a boon for Mo.

Nov 28, 2012

Missouri’s participation in a federal Medicaid expansion would be an economic boon for the state and even pay for itself, according to a new report commissioned by the Missouri Hospital Association and the Missouri Foundation for Health. Under the federal health law, states can choose whether or not to expand Medicaid, which provides health insurance to the poor and disabled. The federal government would fully pay for an expansion during the first few years, but many state lawmakers, like Republican house speaker Tim Jones, worry about the long-term costs.

“It’s once again going down that road of the federal government offering a very generous carrot on the front end,” Jones said.

The recent analysis, done by researchers at the University of Missouri, found an expansion would lead to more than 20,000 jobs and create new tax revenue streams. Herb Kuhn, head of the state’s hospital association, says it would also help offset upcoming payment reductions to hospitals that care for uninsured patients.

"Absent this, what we do know is that cuts to health care providers to the state are locked in and they’re booked as part of the federal law. And those will start to hit pretty hard across the state. And so an opportunity to recover that and to manage that issue is critical," said Kuhn.

Several business groups, including the Missouri chamber of commerce, are also backing the expansion.