SEDALIA, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon today visited the Bothwell Regional Health Center in Sedalia to discuss how his plan to bring the dollars Missourians send to Washington back to strengthen Medicaid in Missouri will benefit taxpayers, businesses and the economy. The proposal, endorsed by the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, would bring $5.7 billion to Missouri and provide health coverage to an additional 300,000 Missourians over the next three years - at no cost to the state.
"Non-partisan business groups throughout the state, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and the chamber right here in Sedalia, support this plan because they know that bringing the dollars Missourians send to Washington back home will create jobs and grow our economy," Gov. Nixon said. "Across the country, other states are stepping up to seize this opportunity. If we fail to act, those jobs and those investments will go to those other states: they'll get the benefit, we'll get the bill."
Last fall, a study by the University of Missouri found that bringing these dollars back to Missouri to strengthen Medicaid would create 24,000 new jobs in Missouri in 2014 alone. As a result of this clear economic benefit, a growing coalition of business and economic development organizations are in support of the Medicaid expansion, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce; the chambers of commerce in Bolivar, Columbia, Hannibal, Independence, Kansas City, Kirksville, Lee's Summit, Sedalia, Springfield, St. Louis and West Plains; the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City; the Associated Industries of Missouri; Kirksville Regional Economic Development Inc., and Columbia Regional Economic Development Inc.
"The Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors endorses this proposal to strengthen Medicaid because the new investments it will bring to Missouri are estimated to create 1,450 jobs in our region," said Connie Smith, Executive Director of the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce. "It will also help us to maintain a strong health care system in our area, which is a primary consideration of businesses considering locating in our community. Simply put - strengthening Medicaid is good for our economy and good for Sedalia."
"This is an issue that transcends politics. That's why Republican governors in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota and Ohio are putting partisan politics aside to bring these federal dollars home to their states to grow their economies and create jobs," Gov. Nixon said. "Missouri must not be left behind."
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. Some of these federal dollars will pay for coverage that is currently being paid for with state dollars. In addition, the economic benefit of expansion will generate additional state revenue. These savings and revenue are conservatively estimated to have a positive impact of $46.6 million in 2014, $125 million in 2015, and $139.6 million in 2016.
Under the proposed expansion, low-income Missourians who can't afford health insurance and earn less than 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level would be eligible for coverage. A family of four living at 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level in 2013 makes about $32,500 a year.
Missouri hospitals are already required by law to treat people who have no health insurance - often in emergency rooms. As a result, the high cost of caring for the uninsured is passed on to employers and individuals who must pay higher premiums for their health insurance. According to the University of Missouri study, the average family of four in Missouri pays $434 more in insurance premiums due to the cost of the uninsured. Under the proposed Medicaid expansion, this cost shift will be reduced - saving each family an estimated $200 in lower premium costs each year.