Mike Parkson, the Republican Governor of Missouri, announced that he will not be expanding Medicare, a change which was recently approved by voters and was supposed to start on July 1, because lawmakers failed to appropriate the necessary funding.
“Although I was never in support of MO HealthNet expansion, I always said that I would uphold the ballot amendment if passed,” said Parson.”However, without a revenue source of funding authority from the General Assembly, we are unable to proceed with the expansion at this time and must withdraw our State Plan Amendments to ensure Missouri’s existing MO HealthNet program remains solvent,” he added.
Parkson has sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to cancel the state’s Medicaid expansion plan.
Consumer advocates and Democratic state lawmakers, however, swiftly responded saying the courts would make Parkson broaden Medicaid coverage to low-income residents who earn less than $18,000 per year per individual.
Missouri was the sixth state in the country to approve Medicaid expansion last August at the ballot box when voters supported the change by 53 to 47 percent. In Oklahoma, where voters approved the expansion last June, eligible residents can start applying from June 1, and the coverage will take effect the following month.
Amy Blouin, CEO of the Missouri Budget Project, stated that expanding Medicaid in the state of Missouri would cost about $130 million every year. The federal government, which will cover 90% of the cost, will provide the state $1.7 billion per year for the expanded coverage.
Blouin and many other advocates are of the opinion that Missouri has adequate funding for Medicaid and that legislators don’t need to appropriate money separately for the expansion. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan, which Congress approved earlier this year, provides an incentive for states that go ahead with the expansion. The incentive would bring in a further $1.1 billion during the course of the following two years.