Gov. Jay Nixon issued the following statement in response to the Missouri Hospital Association's finding that failing to strengthen Medicaid would increase uncompensated care costs by $11.1 billion and impose a "hidden health care tax" hike on Missouri families and businesses. A family of four will pay an additional $1,688 between 2014 and 2020 if the state does not expand Medicaid, according to the report.
"This new report presents a stark choice: we can bring our tax dollars back to Missouri to strengthen Medicaid and reduce costs for employers and families, or we can send these dollars to other states and see these costs skyrocket," Gov. Nixon said. "That's why a large and growing coalition of business groups, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and local chambers across the state, supports our plan to move forward - because otherwise we fall far behind. Today's study estimates the cost of inaction at $11.1 billion - costs Missourians can't afford and don't deserve. Imposing higher health care taxes on families and businesses, while sending their tax dollars to other states, is not the right direction for Missouri."
A growing coalition of business and economic development organizations have endorsed the Medicaid expansion, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce; the chambers of commerce in Bolivar, Branson, Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Hannibal, Independence, Kansas City, Kirksville, Lee's Summit, North Kansas City, Sedalia, Springfield, St. Louis, Warrensburg, 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.
Hospitals currently receive payments from the federal government for treating uninsured patients, payments that will be cut back dramatically, regardless of the state's decision on Medicaid. If Missouri turns down the federal dollars designed to compensate for those cuts by expanding coverage, hospitals will be forced to cut jobs and reduce services - while families and businesses are shouldered with higher premiums. The Missouri Hospital Association estimates that passing up this opportunity to strengthen Medicaid will cost the state 9,000 jobs and increase health insurance premiums for families and businesses by more than $1 billion.