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April 18, 2013 Volume 34, No. 27

Board of Curators asks Missouri lawmakers to decide on expansion of Medicaid


Republicans offered alternative to Gov. Nixon’s Medicaid plan

The University of Missouri Board of Curators unanimously approved a resolution April 12 encouraging Missouri lawmakers to seek a resolution on Medicaid expansion.

The expansion through the Affordable Care Act would mean MU Health Care would receive compensation for the cost of treating uninsured patients not eligible for Medicaid. Last year, MU Health Care spent more than $50 million in health care for such patients, according to the curators.

If those patients are not moved onto Medicaid, University Hospital could lose up to $6 million a year in federal payments due to reimbursement reductions in the federal health care act, according to Hal Williamson, vice chancellor for MU Health System.

Under the 2010 federal health care act, states can expand Medicaid to households making as much as 138 percent above the federal poverty level ($32,499 for a family of four). Congress would pay all the costs of the new enrollees for the first three years and at least 90 percent thereafter.

Gov. Jay Nixon, BA ’78,  JD ’81, has pushed for Medicaid expansion, saying Feb. 7 during a talk at the Trulaske College of Business that it could mean health coverage for an additional 300,000 employed Missourians over the next three years at no cost to the state. 

The governor said his proposal would bring $5.7 billion to the state, all funded by the federal government with no cost to Missouri. The state would begin paying a percentage of the cost after that, topping out at 10 percent in 2020.

Fifty-eight state and local business groups have endorsed Nixon’s plan, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Industries of Missouri.

Republicans have offered an alternative to Nixon’s plan that would expand eligibility to anyone at or below the federal poverty level ($23,550 for a family of four), along with making several market-based reforms. The plan would require a federal waiver to go into effect.