Gov. Jay Nixon today visited the St. Charles County Economic Development Center to discuss how his plan to bring the dollars Missourians send to Washington back to strengthen Medicaid in Missouri will benefit taxpayers, businesses and the economy. In the first three years, the Governor's proposal would bring $5.7 billion to Missouri and provide health coverage to an additional 300,000 Missourians, at no cost to the state.
"Non-partisan business organizations throughout the state have endorsed this plan because they recognize that bringing the dollars Missourians send to Washington back to strengthen Medicaid in Missouri will protect taxpayers and grow our economy," Gov. Nixon said. "Otherwise, those dollars will go to some other state. They'll get the benefit, and we'll get the bill."
Last fall, a study by the University of Missouri found that bringing these dollars back to Missouri to strengthen Medicaid would create 24,000 new jobs in Missouri in 2014 alone. As a result of this clear economic benefit, a growing coalition of business and economic development organizations have endorsed the Medicaid expansion, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce; the chambers of commerce in Columbia, Hannibal, Independence, Kansas City, Kirksville, Lee's Summit, Springfield, St. Louis and West Plains; the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City; the Associated Industries of Missouri; Kirksville Regional Economic Development Inc., and Columbia Regional Economic Development Inc.
"Across the country, Republican governors in Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, North Dakota, New Mexico and Nevada are putting politics aside to seize this opportunity to create jobs and stand up for taxpayers in their states," Gov. Nixon said. "We must do the same here in Missouri."
Under the proposed expansion, low-income Missourians who can't afford health insurance and earn less than 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level would be eligible for coverage. A family of four living at 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level in 2013 makes $32,500 a year.
Because federal funding will cover 100 percent of the costs for calendar years 2014, 2015 and 2016, expanding health care coverage to those 300,000 uninsured Missourians would involve no state tax dollars for those years. Some of these federal dollars will pay for coverage that is currently being paid for with state dollars. In addition, the economic benefit of expansion will generate additional state revenue. These savings and revenue are conservatively estimated to have a positive impact of $46.6 million in 2014, $125 million in 2015, and $139.6 million in 2016.
Missouri hospitals are already required by law to treat people who have no health insurance. As a result, the high cost of caring for the uninsured is passed on to employers and individuals who must pay higher premiums for their health insurance. According to the University of Missouri study, the average family of four in Missouri pays $434 more in insurance premiums due to the cost of the uninsured. Under the proposed Medicaid expansion, this cost shift will be reduced - saving each family an estimated $200 in lower premium costs each year.