Rep. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) and Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) heard from four supporters of Medicaid expansion at a legislative wrap-up session in Columbia Tuesday night. A little bit more than half of the one-hour meeting, hosted by the Boone County Pachyderms Club, was spent debating the expansion.
Missouri’s GOP super-majority blocked every Democratic attempt to increase Medicaid eligibility in the state, calling the program an expensive, yet broken system.
Supporters of the expansion said it would help low-income, working adults in Missouri who aren’t eligible for the program, but are too poor to afford their own insurance. Brian Smith of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center attended the meeting. He said when combined with cuts to Medicare provider reimbursements, the lack of Medicaid expansion would disproportionately hurt rural hospitals and might push them to close.
Both the Missouri House and Senate have instituted interim committees that would study ways to reform Medicaid. Rowden said he hopes to be involved in the discussion.