The Senate rejected Gov. Jay Nixon’s proposal to expand Medicaid to cover the working poor in a 23-9 vote, with Republicans opposing the idea and Democrats supporting it. The amendment to a Medicaid management bill would have extended the public health insurance program to adults making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $32,500 for a family of four. An estimated 313,000 Missourians initially would gain coverage.
Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would pay the full cost through 2016, with the state’s cost phasing up to 10 percent by 2020. Opponents said the federal government wouldn’t keep its promise to pay most of the bill and the state can’t afford to expand the program without taking money from education.
The vote is unlikely to end the debate. “It’s not dead,” said Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis.