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Home » News » During visit to Independence Chamber of...

During visit to Independence Chamber of Commerce, Gov. Nixon details positive fiscal and economic impact of expanding Medicaid

February 7, 2013

Independence and Lee’s Summit chambers join Gov. Nixon in call to bring Missouri tax dollars back to work here in Missouri

 Gov. Jay Nixon today visited with members of the Independence and Lee’s Summit chambers of commerce to discuss how his plan to bring billions of dollars back to Missouri through an expansion of Medicaid will benefit businesses, families, 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.

“Right now, we have an opportunity to bring billions of dollars – dollars that already come out of Missourians’ paychecks – back home to Missouri,” Gov. Nixon said. “If we pass on this opportunity, that money will go to other states. They’ll get the benefit, and we’ll get the bill. I want to see those dollars go to work and help create jobs here in Missouri – and I’m glad that the business leaders at the Independence and Lee’s Summit chambers of commerce agree.”

In addition to those two chambers, several other business and economic development organizations across Missouri have endorsed the Medicaid expansion, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce; the chambers of commerce in Kansas City, Springfield, St. Louis, and Kirksville; the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City; the Associated Industries of Missouri; Kirksville Regional Economic Development Inc.; and Columbia Regional Economic Development Inc.

“As a non-partisan local chamber of commerce, we support the Medicaid expansion because bringing these tax dollars back home to Missouri will be a solid investment in our community that will create jobs and grow our economy,” said Mark Dickey, Lee’s Summit Chamber vice president. “Increasing access to health care for working Missourians will also ensure that our community remain a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

“Local chambers of commerce are on the front lines of bringing new businesses and new investments to our cities,” said Stan Shurmantine, chairman of the Independence Chamber of Commerce. “We support the Medicaid expansion because it will ensure that thousands of health care jobs in Jackson County will stay in Jackson County. We also know that bringing billions of dollars back to the Show-Me State is a smart business decision for our communities, and a solid investment in our economy.”

Last fall, a report by the University of Missouri demonstrated the clear economic benefit to Missouri of providing expanded health care coverage using the available federal funds. The University of Missouri report showed that the additional funding for health care will create 24,000 new jobs in Missouri in 2014 alone.

“This week, the Republican governors of Ohio and Michigan announced plans to take advantage of this opportunity to expand Medicaid in their states, joining Republican governors in Arizona, North Dakota, New Mexico and Nevada,” Gov. Nixon said. “They are putting politics aside to make the right business decision for their states, and we should do the same here in Missouri.”

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. Even as the federal funding match rate slightly declines to 90 percent, savings and revenue for the state budget will continue from $112.9 million 2017 to $4.3 million in 2021.

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 2012 makes $31,809 a year.

Missouri hospitals are already required by law to treat people who have no health insurance. This results in the high cost of caring for the uninsured being passed along to employers and individuals who must pay higher premiums for their health insurance. If this coverage is not compensated for through an expansion of Medicaid to cover the cost of that care, hospitals will have to bear those costs or pass them onto patients with health insurance.

A recent report by the Missouri Hospital Association found that in 2011, Missouri hospitals provided $1.1 billion in uncompensated care to Missourians – a record level.

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