In 2015, Missouri lawmakers continued to successfully resist a major piece of the Affordable Care Act while the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling that helped ensure the health care law’s survival in the state.
For another year, the Republican-led Missouri Legislature defeated attempts to expand Medicaid in the state, continuing to clash with one of the central mandates of President Barack Obama’s signature legislation.
The Year in Brief offers a look at Missouri’s most important business stories of 2015 and previews how those stories could play out in 2016 and beyond.
However, in June, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold subsidies for health insurance purchased through the federal marketplace. The decision ensured health insurance would remain affordable for some 200,00 Missourians and millions of people across the country living in states without state-run exchanges.
The ruling also placed added pressure on Republican lawmakers to reconsider their stance on health care reform. Democrats and some Republicans continued to call for the expansion of Medicaid to the state’s working poor, saying Missouri is leaving up to $2 billion in federal money on the table by refusing to do that.
In the future
Missouri is one of 20 states that continue to resist expanding Medicaid coverage. While Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon supports the measure, veto-proof Republican majorities in the House and Senate make it unlikely. Opponents argue that expansion would be too costly for the state.
Meanwhile, the number of Missourians signing up for health care is going up. More than 250,000 residents have already purchased 2016 coverage through the federal insurance marketplace, according to the most recent data, putting Missouri on track to yet again exceed the previous year’s enrollment totals.
Among the new bills pre-filled for the 2016 legislative session is a measure proposed by Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, to extend medical assistance to vulnerable citizens, ages 19-64, who are eligible for the program under the ACA, and who fall below a certain income threshold.
In a graphic
On social media
The president took to Twitter to celebrate the Supreme Court’s June decision to allow subsidies for health insurance purchased through the federal exchange:
Today’s decision is a victory for every hardworking American. Access to quality, affordable health care is a right, not a privilege.
— President Obama (@POTUS) June 25, 2015