Gov. Jay Nixon today spoke to more than a thousand business leaders, law enforcement officers, health care advocates, faith leaders and working Missourians at the State Capitol on the need to bring the dollars Missourians send to Washington D.C. back home to strengthen Medicaid in Missouri. More 200 organizations, including 60 statewide and local business groups, have endorsed strengthening Medicaid, which would bring $5.7 billion back to Missouri and provide health coverage to an additional 300,000 Missourians over the next three years, at no cost to the state.
"Seizing this unique opportunity to strengthen Medicaid the Missouri way will create tens of thousands of jobs, improve mental health treatment, and bring the dollars Missourians send to Washington back here to Missouri," Gov. Nixon said. "That is why this broad coalition of businesses, doctors, nurses, faith leaders, law enforcement officers, and working families from all across the state have come together today in support of this proposal. They know that strengthening Medicaid is the smart thing to do for our economy, and the right thing to do for our families and communities."
Strengthening Medicaid would make low-income Missourians who can't afford health insurance and earn less than 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level - or $32,500 a year for a family of four - eligible for coverage. Of the 300,000 additional Missourians who would be covered, an estimated 50,000 need mental health treatment.
Last fall, a report by the University of Missouri demonstrated 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.
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.