A strong Republican showing in last week’s midterm election appears to have dimmed the prospects for Medicaid expansion in many states, including Kansas. But in Missouri, Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, appears intent on pressing ahead in his efforts to expand health care coverage for about 300,000 low-income Missourians.
Missouri lawmakers were close to agreeing on a Medicaid expansion deal at the end of their legislative session in the spring. Silvey has said the retirement of some lawmakers who blocked the deal may help him gain approval of a compromise proposal in the upcoming session.
Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid eligibility. Missouri, Kansas and 19 other states have not. Lawmakers in two states are considering the issue.
Time is of the essence in expansion effort: Under the Affordable Care Act, certain funds the federal government uses to help health care providers offset the cost of charity care will be phased out starting next October. When the ACA was written, it was assumed hospitals would no longer need the funds by then because previously uninsured citizens would have either subsidized private coverage or Medicaid.