Medicaid expansion

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 4:30 p.m. Wed., March 26)

In the last six months alone, Missouri hospitals have eliminated nearly 1,000 jobs, imposed hiring freezes affecting another 2,145 positions and cut or delayed at least $50 million in building projects.

The blame is due, in part, to the General Assembly’s refusal to expand Medicaid.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to next year's state budget -- after spending most of Tuesday on amendments to the FY 2015 budget, including two attempts to expand Medicaid.  Both failed, and both were sponsored by state Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is trying a new pitch in his quest to persuade state legislators to expand the state's Medicaid program and accept the $2 billion a year in extra federal money that would go along with it.

Nixon told supporters Thursday night in St. Louis County that the state’s current Medicaid program is so stingy that it discourages people from working — and could drive entry-level workers to other states that are expanding Medicaid.

Missouri now bars Medicaid coverage for anyone who earns more than $2,217 a year — which boils down to $42.63 a week.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

State Sen. Rob Schaaf is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to health-care policy. But some believe that this staunch opponent of Medicaid expansion holds the key to ending the legislative impasse over it.

File Photo

HANNIBAL, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster –  now running for governor -- dove straight into the health-care debate Saturday when he attacked his former Republican colleagues for opposing Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act.

“The Affordable Care Act was a Republican idea, for goodness sakes,” Koster declared. “They’re just pissed that we stole it.”

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Former U.S. Sen.Kit Bond paid a visit to Jefferson City Tuesday, hoping to persuade his fellow Republicans in the Missouri House and Senate to expand Medicaid coverage to more people.

Bond told a gathering of Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry members that he doesn't like Obamacare, and he called its rollout a "disaster."  But he also said that accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid could enable Missouri to craft its own health-care solution.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius tried to put a price tag and a face on the government’s health reform push in Missouri when she visited the Grace Hill Water Tower Health Center on Friday. 

The price tag: $5 million a day. That’s how much she says Missouri is losing by refusing to expand its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.

The face: a local resident who praised the law for the help it is providing his family while he attends law school.

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Retired U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, R-Mo., is jumping into the Jefferson City debate over Medicaid expansion – and he’s on the side of  Gov. Jay Nixon and other expansion supporters.

Bond, a former two-term governor, has been hired as a lobbyist by the Missouri Chamber to try to persuade fellow Republicans in the General Assembly to drop their opposition and agree to take the federal aid which would cover all the expansion’s costs for three years and at least 90 percent thereafter.

Credit Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics. 

It's another two-part edition of the podcast. Marshall Griffin joins the Politically Speaking crew to talk about Gov. Jay Nixon's State of the State speech and the latest developments involving Missouri's death penalty. Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, joins Chris, Jo and Jason for the second part of the show. 

Ryan White, the Indiana teenager who, after contracting AIDS at age 13, advocated for a more considered approach to those facing AIDS-related illnesses.
(via Wikimedia Commons/Wildhartlivie)

The centerpiece of the federal government’s war against HIV/AIDS bears the name Ryan White.  

The public might not remember him without a little context. A hemophiliac who was diagnosed with AIDS at age 13, White drew international attention when he not only had to cope with the disease but also had to wage a legal fight to attend school with his classmates in Kokomo, Ind.,  following his diagnosis. He died in 1984 at the age of 18 after becoming a poster child for more compassion, counseling and medical care for those facing AIDS-related illnesses.