Missouri health-care providers worry as pressure continues to curb Medicaid

Missouri has one of the most restrictive Medicaid programs in the nation, in part a consequence of the state refusing to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act.

And while Republican efforts to repeal and replace the ACA fell short last week, health care analysts say pressure on the Medicaid program will continue. On Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the American Health Care Act when Republicans were unable to muster enough votes to pass the bill.

“Regardless of what happens … with the AHCA, it is pretty clear that there is going to be changes with Medicaid under this administration,” said Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors.

Those changes, proposed both in Washington and Jefferson City, could mean even fewer people qualifying for coverage — and that has health care providers, especially hospitals in some of the state’s poorer communities, worried.

The AHCA would have hit the Medicaid program the hardest through a $880 billion cut in funding, which would have resulted in 14 million fewer Medicaid enrollees nationwide, according to an estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

In Missouri, with nearly 1 million Missourians who rely on Medicaid, about 306,500 people would have lost coverage under the original proposal, according to estimates from the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning policy institute in Washington, D.C.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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