Medicaid Expansion in MO: Next Steps

November 13, 2020

Missourians are counting down the months to when they can access health insurance thanks to the expansion of Missouri’s Medicaid program, MO HealthNet. It is time for all of us to work together so that by summer 2021 our Medicaid program will be equipped to help more individuals and families across the state get the peace of mind and financial security they need to stay healthy.

Here are some important things to know (adapted from Makes Sense MO from Missouri Foundation for Health):

  • Federal Government Will Pay 90% of Medicaid Expansion Costs:  Expanding Missouri’s Medicaid program, MO HealthNet, will bring much needed federal funding into our state. This will free up limited state funding to cover other priority areas including schools, public safety, and small businesses.

  • Medicaid Expansion Will Help Grow Our Economy:  We continue to feel the economic fallout caused by COVID-19.  Research shows that expanding the Medicaid program will also create over 16,000 new jobs per year, and 79% will be outside of the healthcare industry.  It is estimated that the economic output will increase by $2.5 billion and personal income will increase by $1.1 billion every year between 2022 and 2026. 

  • Medicaid Expansion Will Keep Health Care Costs Down for Everyone:  When an uninsured Missourian goes to the emergency room, taxpayers often foot the bill which means higher insurance premiums for everyone and tax dollars diverted from other priorities. Now that we’ve voted to expand our Medicaid program, more Missourians will have access to treatment and preventive care, keeping health care costs down for everyone.

  • Medicaid Expansion Will Improve Health and Access to Care:  Having health insurance allows Missourians to access preventive care so conditions can be managed so they can keep working and supporting their families.  More than 30% of Missourians live in rural communities, which have experienced the closure of 7 hospitals recently.  Expanding Medicaid will help keep rural hospitals and clinics open, providing critical care for families throughout our state. 

  • Medicaid Expansion Will Close the Coverage Gap:  Before the COVID-19 pandemic led to high levels of job loss and insecurity, approximately 230,000 hard-working Missourians were expected to gain health insurance through Medicaid expansion. These are people who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid now but don’t make enough to afford private health insurance and aren’t offered coverage through their jobs. These residents do not have any realistic options to get health insurance that would help them get and stay healthy, go to work, support their families and avoid bankruptcy when they face an unexpected illness.