Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) has been touring the state this week, promoting the so-called three “E’s” that House Republicans say they’ll focus on next year – the economy, energy, and education – but their agenda still likely won't include a fourth “E," expansion of Medicaid.
Jones told a group of reporters in Jefferson City today that House budget writers start off every year looking for $150-$200 million for the state’s Medicaid needs.
“To expand that entitlement even further, I think, is reckless," Jones said. "I think it’s economically reckless…I think it unsustainable into the far future.”
Governor Jay Nixon (D) wants to expand Medicaid coverage to an additional 300,000 Missourians, and a study by the University of Missouri - Columbia and the Missouri Hospital Association states that more than 24,000 jobs would be created by the expansion. Jones dismissed the study, saying Medicaid expansion would drive up the debt and increase taxes for everyone.
“The federal government, that 90 percent match they talk about, I was in DC a couple of weeks ago and spoke to some of the folks on the federal level, some of our Congress-people," Jones said. "They’ve told me the way you can read that regulation, that could actually be a ceiling, and the federal government could start backing away from that and requiring the states to put even more money in.”
The 2013 regular legislative session begins Jan. 9, 2013.
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