Gov. Jay Nixon announced this morning that he will push legislators to expand public health insurance for the poor to include an estimated 300,000 uninsured Missourians. His plan has the potential to create enough jobs and taxes to offset costs according to studies. His expansion is part of the federal Affordable Care Act.
The expansion between 2014 and 2020 is expected to cost the state $333 million.
He will face a Republican super-majority in the General Assembly that opposes expanding Medicaid. According to Nixon, it is the smart and right thing to do because congress, President Barack Obama and the Supreme Court have all approved the Affordable Care Act.
The federal government would pay for the additional cost of expansion at the beginning of the plan. States will pick up 5 percent of the tab starting in 2017 and 10 percent by 2020. Nixon said 300,000 new people would be eligible for coverage. Some estimate 160,000 to 380,000 would be insured.
A study released Wednesday morning by the MU School of Medicine said the expansion could generate enough tax revenue to pay off the costs. The School of Medicine said the spending would create $855 million in state and local taxes.
The report also said expansion could create 24,000 workers and increase payroll by $7 billion between 2014 and 2020.
Republicans are skeptical of the benefits though. Republican Sen. Tom Dempsey from St. Charles told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “They’ve promised us the moon and the sky— that we can expand Medicaid and it will be paid for and ultimately it will cost the state 10 percent long-term— but they don’t have a great track record.”
The federal government has not set a deadline for states to decide on expanding.