Two Separate Mo. House Committees Reject Medicaid Expansion Efforts
Medicaid expansion is dead for now in the Missouri House.
First, the House subcommittee that oversees the budgets for the Departments of Health, Mental Health and Social Services voted to approve those agencies budgets without including Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) call to expand Medicaid to an additional 259,000 Missourians next year. State Representative Sue Allen (R, Town and Country) chairs that subcommittee.
“We can’t afford it…it’s not rocket science," Allen said. "If we expand, taking federal dollars now, which I do not believe would not use some state (general revenue), even with what we’re told the feds would do now, there will be a time (when) the feds will back off.”
About 90 minutes later, another House committee voted down a bill by Democrats that would have also expanded Medicaid in Missouri. House Bill 627 was sponsored by Minority Floor Leader Jake Hummel (D, St. Louis).
“We’re talking about the creation of 24,000 jobs in the state of Missouri...$8.2 billion in federal investment, $9.6 billion in additional economic activity,” Hummel said.
State Representative Jay Barnes (R, Jefferson City) chairs the House Committee on Government Oversight, which was conducting the hearing on Hummel's bill.
“The way I see this is sort of a Brinks truck theory of economic development, where we ask the federal government to send as many Brinks trucks full of borrowed cash from China as it can possibly gather together and dump it into Missouri’s economy," Barnes said.
Barnes’ committee rejected the Medicaid expansion bill on a 2 to 5 vote. He’s also one of the main sponsors of the Republicans’ alternate Medicaid proposal, which he says will be filed Tuesday. It’s possible that House Democrats may try to amend the budget bills again when the full House Budget Committee takes them up in the coming weeks.
Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport