JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — One lawmaker in Missouri is seeking an explanation for more than 55,000 children losing state health care coverage.
On Monday, Sen. Scott Sifton sent a letter to Todd Richardson, the Director of the MO HealthNet Division, asking a series of questions regarding the “dramatic”‘ reduction of Missourians covered by Medicaid.
In December of 2018, 906,003 Missourians were enrolled in Medicaid, a decrease of more than 71,000 enrollees from the 977,531 Missourians enrolled the previous January.
While most other states have experienced a less than two percent decrease in the number of Medicaid participants, Missouri saw a drop of at least seven percent. According to the released data, nearly 57,000 of those who lost coverage were children.
“The reasons given by the state for taking health care away from 57,000 children do not add up. It is unlikely that 17,000 people getting jobs would result in 71,000 people losing Medicaid coverage. In the past, Missouri has seen far greater drops in its unemployment rate without seeing tens of thousands of people –most of whom are children – losing their health care coverage,” Sifton said. “The state should provide answers to ensure that no one – no child – was cut from Medicaid simply because of red tape.”
In his letter to Richardson, Sifton noted that he is trying not to leap to conclusions but simply seeking answers to some questions regarding the enrollment drop.
Sifton wants to know what criteria was used to determine who was ineligible, how many were sent letter, how many were removed because they failed to respond to the letter sent, how many of the letters were returned as undeliverable and resulted in the intended recipient losing coverage, how many folks have attempted to appeal their removal, and how many have been successful in appealing their removal?
A full copy of the letter is available below:
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.