Missouri Medicaid expansion advocates wait, watch as other red states vote

Heartened by the success of campaigns to put Medicaid expansion on ballots in other states controlled by Republican lawmakers, some advocates in Missouri have fresh optimism about Medicaid expansion in the state.

Fourteen states still refuse Medicaid expansion, which would extend the health insurance program for the poor to people who make up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Expansion was initially mandated for all states under the Affordable Care Act, but a Supreme Court ruling in 2012 made it optional for states.

Although the federal government would pick up a majority of the cost for states extending coverage, the Republican-controlled Missouri Legislature has repeatedly refused to expand Medicaid. Incoming House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, has indicated lawmakers will continue to resist the idea.

However, advocates say they have discussed non-legislative routes to expansion. Supporters of the idea will likely keep close watch on other red states in November to see how votes over the issue fare there.

Maine gained approval through a public vote last year. Idaho voters will decide on expansion in November. Similar efforts are being undertaken in Nebraska and Utah.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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