By Eli Yokley
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Jay Nixon is continuing to make his case for Medicaid expansion — claiming expanding the program with federal funds could help the economy and state law enforcement agencies.
Speaking at a hospital in Jefferson City, Nixon touted recent improvements in the state’s economy, and added that he felt continued economic growth was tied directly to the health care decision currently facing the state.
“Making sure we continue to build on this progress has everything to do with how we move forward on health care,” he said. “This is not a political decision. It is an economic one.”
Nixon said his proposal to expand Medicaid to those individuals making less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level wold bring $5.7 billion to Missouri and add some 300,000 Missourians to the state’s Medicaid rolls.
“There are high costs to letting this pass by,” Nixon said, referring to the loss of some federal Medicaid money, higher insurance premiums, and potential detriment to the state’s mental health care system, a key concern to Missouri law enforcement authorities in light of recent shootings. “Inaction means more mentally unhealthy people are not getting treatment.”
“If we do not move forward, we are falling behind,” he said.
Nixon was scheduled to visit five different regions of the state this week to tout his support of expansion.
While Nixon was campaigning for the proposal on the ground, top Republicans strategists spent much of the week campaigning in the capitol, touting a new poll that expanding Medicaid, coupled with modest reforms, could be a winning political issue for many of their members.