Missouri’s Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon plans to include a Medicaid expansion to cover nearly a quarter-million more state residents in his 2013 budget proposal, but the Republican-controlled legislature is strongly opposed.
Even though much of the expansion will be covered by federal dollars, state lawmakers still have to appropriate the funds. Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kindler says Nixon’s proposal will be dead on arrival, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Republican Sen. Tom Dempsey, who takes the state Senate’s top leadership role in January, said an expansion is “highly unlikely” because Obamacare takes a one-size-fits-all approach to Medicaid and other federal programs.
Nixon told reporters Thursday he hopes lawmakers will look at the facts, especially a study that claims 24,000 jobs could be created in 2014 if the state expands Medicaid.
“I don’t see this as a Republican/Democrat issue,” Nixon said. “We’re not going to let politics get in the way of doing the best thing for our state.”
Democratic lawmakers are backing Nixon’s proposal, saying the expected returns are worth the investment of taxpayer dollars.
About 881,000 people are enrolled in Missouri's Medicaid program, with 60 percent being children. Another 18.6 percent have disabilities.
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