Gov. Jay Nixon today laid out his plans to provide health care coverage for an additional estimated 300,000 Missourians. The Governor said the step would not only benefit the overall health of the state's residents, but would also be a fiscally responsible move for the state of Missouri and taxpayers because federal funding will cover 100 percent of the costs for the first three years, and 90 percent or more in subsequent years.
The Governor announced his proposal this morning at a news conference at Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, and will make similar announcements later today at the Barnes-Jewish Center for Outpatient Health in St. Louis and Jordan Valley Community Health Care Center in Springfield.
"My consistent position on expanding Medicaid has been to carefully study the options and then determine what is the best fit for Missouri," Gov. Nixon said. "That is why the budget I plan to submit to the Legislature for Fiscal Year 2014 will include federal funding to provide health care for an estimated additional 300,000 Missourians - men, women and children - who currently have no health insurance. It's the smart thing to do, and it's the right thing to do."
The Affordable Care Act allows for an expansion of Medicaid to cover low-income Americans who can't afford health insurance by raising the eligibility level to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. A family of four living at 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level in 2012 makes $31,809 a year.
Because federal funding will cover 100 percent of the costs for calendar years 2014, 2015 and 2016, expanding health care coverage to those 300,000 uninsured Missourians would involve no state tax dollars for those years. Beginning in 2017, the state share would be five percent of the cost, and then increase to six percent for 2018 and seven percent for 2019. Beginning in 2020, the state would pay 10 percent of the cost.
On a stop at Truman Medical Center in Kansas City on Nov. 29, 2012, Gov. Jay Nixon laid out his plans to provide health care coverage for an additional estimated 300,000 Missourians.
"More Missourians will be able to receive timely preventive services like immunizations, prenatal checkups and cancer screenings, in addition to other high-quality health care in hospitals, clinics, FQHCs, clinics and rural health care centers all across our state," Gov. Nixon said. "This will improve the health and the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of Missourians, and transform the expensive, scattershot way we now provide care for people with no health insurance."
Currently, hospitals are reimbursed for treating people who have no health insurance. Under the Affordable Care Act, payments to hospitals that serve the uninsured will be reduced. If those payments are not offset by an increase in federal funds to cover the cost of that care, hospitals will have to bear those costs. That results in the high cost of caring for the uninsured being passed along to employers and individuals who must pay higher premiums for their health insurance.
In addition, a report came out on Wednesday showing the clear economic benefit to Missouri of providing expanded health care coverage, using the available federal funds. The University of Missouri report showed that the additional funding for health care will create 24,000 new jobs in Missouri in 2014 alone.
"As Chief Executive for the state, I take my financial responsibilities very seriously," the Governor said. "I trust that as others scrutinize the numbers, as I have, they will come to the same conclusion: that we can do the smart thing and the right thing for the people of Missouri."