Another plea for Republicans to expand Medicaid

Courtesy Office of  Governor Jay Nixon

Courtesy Office of Governor Jay Nixon

Gov. Jay Nixon today went to UMKC school of nursing in an effort to persuade state Republicans to expand Medicaid.

He noted that many other Republican-led states have made the expansion, often with reforms intended to protect taxpayers, reward work and promote personal responsibility.

From a Nixon media release of the event:

“Across the county, Republican governors and legislators are bringing their tax dollars home and implementing innovative market-based reforms to Medicaid, while Missouri gets left behind,” Nixon said. “…The time is now to strengthen and reform Medicaid the Missouri way.

Medicaid is a federal/state program that provides health coverage to low-income families and the disabled.

The federal government would pay for most of the expansion, reducing the cost of Medicaid to the state budget.

The net positive impact on the state budget for fiscal year 2016 is projected at $117 million and at $1.7 billion over the next decade.

The expansion would provide coverage to 300,000 Missourians who make up to $27,000 a year for a family of four.

“Through co-pays and cost-sharing, states like Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Michigan are requiring participants to contribute toward funding their health care, while allowing them to move up the economic ladder without losing their coverage.”

Reforms done in Pennsylvania and proposed in Utah and Florida require those who refuse to work or seek work to pay higher premiums. Those with incomes over 100 percent of the poverty level who don’t pay the higher premiums would lose coverage.

Those with incomes below 100 percent of the poverty level would pay higher copays for care.

Some states also use tiered coverage, with premiums or copays based on income level.

Reforms in some states discourage improper use of emergency services or cancelling appointments through higher copays or loss of incentives.

Nixon suggested that recipients could also be charged for non-emergency use of ambulance services, while given incentives for lifestyle choices like quitting smoking, losing weight and eating better.

Other advocates have said the expansion would add thousands of jobs in health care and save hospitals millions of dollars in costs for providing care to those who cannot pay.

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