Medicaid expansion measure survives appeal, stays on August ballot

Missouri voters are still on track to decide the fate of a proposal to expand Medicaid in the state after the Western Missouri Court of Appeals dismissed a case seeking to strike the measure from the August ballot.

The case was spearheaded by two conservative groups, Americans for Prosperity-Missouri and United for Missouri. The appeal came after the original cases were dismissed on June 2 by Cole County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Green.

The ballot measure would expand access to Medicaid in the state to adults making up to 138% of the federal poverty level, in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. Missouri is one of 14 states that have not expanded the health care program for low-income people since the 2010 passage of the federal legislation.

The two groups seeking to keep the measure off the state’s Aug. 4 ballot argued that the means of funding the proposal have not been identified, violating Missouri’s constitution. The appeals court rejected that argument.

The ballot measure specifies a one-time cost of $6.4 million and a net fiscal impact within six years ranging from annual costs of $200 million to annual savings of $1 billion.

Federal law requires states to pay 10% of Medicaid expansion, with the federal government funding the remaining 90%.

Proponents of expansion point to the financial impact increased Medicaid access has had in other states. They say the measure could give an additional 230,000 Missourians access to health care.

The state’s current Medicaid plan covers only those earning up to 22% of the federal poverty line.

The defendants could still appeal the case to the Missouri Supreme Court.

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