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Survey: Ex-Medicaid recipients are cutting back on necessities

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – In 2005, Missouri cut nearly 100,000 people from the Medicaid rolls.

The survey of more than 2,400 ex-recipients finds many are cutting back on food and utilities to pay for health care.

Data analyst Dr. Timothy McBride with the St. Louis University School of Public Health says they're putting stress on health care safety net providers.

"Thirty-eight percent of them said that they will go to their local emergency room, and 34% said they'll use a community-based clinic," McBride said. "And so the costs are going to shift to the rest of us.

But the state of Missouri is challenging the survey.

Department of Social Services spokeswoman Deborah Scott says it was conducted unscientifically.

At best, this appears to be a poorly constructed opinion poll of those that self-selected to complete a biased form to elicit a negative response," Scott said. "So we don't feel that this is credible information.

Scott says the state is working on a pilot program to divert patients with non-life threatening conditions away from emergency rooms and into more appropriate care settings.

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