Social Service Advocates Ask Mo. Lawmakers To Expand Medicaid | St. Louis Public Radio

Social Service Advocates Ask Mo. Lawmakers To Expand Medicaid

Dec 4, 2012

People and groups who work with Medicaid clients urged Missouri lawmakers today to expand coverage in next year’s state budget.

Cynthia Keele from NAMI Missouri (National Alliance on Mental Illness) told a State House budget subcommittee that expanding Medicaid would help families dealing with medical debt.

“Missouri medical debt is responsible for about 40 percent of the bankruptcies in Missouri, and I know that because I’m a banker’s wife," Keele said.  "Those bankruptcies and medical debt kill jobs.”

The requests were made before the State House subcommittee that recommends funding for the departments of Health, Mental Health and Social Services.  The budget writers had gathered to take testimony on annual budget requests from divisions within the state agencies and from private groups that work with those in need.  Delores Sparks is with the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council.

“We believe Medicaid expansion will have a significant impact on the health status and services for individuals with disabilities in Missouri, and on our state’s economy as well," Sparks said.  "Expansion of Medicaid is projected to generate an additional 24,000 jobs in Missouri.”

Governor Jay Nixon (D) wants to add 300,000 Missourians to the state’s Medicaid rolls in next year’s state budget, and says the feds will pay 100 percent of the cost for the first three years.  Republican leaders are balking at that proposal, saying the state will be forced to cover the expanded costs after those three years are up.  Missouri’s share would be five percent starting in 2017 and top out at 10 percent in the year 2020.