Missouri Republicans: State Can’t Afford to Expand Medicaid

Monday, 02 Jul 2012 11:17 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Missouri Republicans say they plan to reject $8.4 billion in federal money to expand the Medicaid program because the state will have to put up $431 million of its own money down the road to help finance the program.

“I just don't see any way we will be expanding Medicaid at the expense of things like education and public safety,” state House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan Silvey told the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

The Medicaid expansion program is a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, labeled by critics as Obamacare, that the Supreme Court upheld as constitutional in its 5-4 ruling last Thursday. But the decision also allows the states to opt out of the expansion program.

According to the Post-Dispatch, Missouri political observers say state lawmakers are under pressure from national GOP leaders to reject the expansion program. Republican leaders are still threatening to repeal Obamacare, despite the court ruling.

Under Obamacare, Missouri could expand its Medicaid program to cover 308,000 more people, according to an estimate by the nonpartisan aiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. For the first three years, the expansion wouldn’t cost the state much beyound what it pays out now for Medicaid coverage. But by 2020 it would have pick up at least 10 percent of teh costs.

In order to do that, though, Silvey said the state would have to raise taxes, something the GOP-controlled Missouri General Assembly has rejected and a scenario that Republican  Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder says is unacceptable.

“Our position in the General Assembly and, speaking for me, personally, is clear,” he said.

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