Key provisions of the Affordable Care Act went into effect this week, and Gov. Jay Nixon renewed his call for legislators to expand Medicaid in Missouri to take advantage of federal subsidies for health insurance. At a news conference, Nixon praised states such as Iowa and Arkansas for designing “common-sense, market-based approaches” that encourage personal responsibility on the part of Medicaid participants.
The governor and a coalition of business, labor and health care groups pushed during the last legislative session to expand Medicaid to the working poor, but the bill was shelved by the Republican-led Legislature. Nixon said the dynamics will be different this year because the federal government will, in fact, be financing the expansion in states that accepted it. A recent study estimated that Missouri will turn away $2.2 billion in federal funds annually.
But Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones said legislative leaders first want to revamp the existing Medicaid program before considering any expansion.