Nixon proposal could expand health care coverage through federal funding

An additional 300,000 Missourians would be covered under the proposal.

Gov. Jay Nixon recently proposed his fiscal year 2014 budget, which includes federal funding for expanded health care. This would provide health care coverage for an estimated 300,000 additional Missourians, he said Thursday morning.

MU released a report Wednesday that stated there will be economic benefit of expanding health care coverage in Missouri. This financial move is expected to create 24,000 jobs in 2014.

The proposal is fiscally and directly beneficial for state citizens, Nixon said. It will improve health conditions and opportunities for Missourians and use the state’s available federal funds in a responsible way, according to a news release.

“It’s the smart thing to do, and it’s the right thing to do,” Nixon said Thursday.

This change is expected to create jobs and improve the welfare of citizens without demanding resources from the state until 2017, according to the release. The proposal is an economic investment for Missouri that doesn't have many of the burdens of an investment.

The proposed changes will go into effect in 2014, with the first three years completely federally funded. Following 2016, the state will begin carrying more of the weight.

Starting in 2017, Missouri will be paying 5 percent of the cost for this additional coverage, 6 percent in 2018 and 7 percent in 2019. Beginning in 2020, Missouri will be expected to cover 10 percent of the coverage increase.

Nixon’s new proposal will also combat the effects of the Affordable Care Act, which calls for a decrease in reimbursement for hospitals that treat uninsured patients. Currently, the federal government provides these funds.

Because the state will see a cut in that support, Nixon said he hopes to shift the use of federal money slightly in order to sustain Missouri’s ability to provide care to citizens. This also keeps the weight off employers and individuals whose insurance premiums, if left unattended, would increase because of the Affordable Care Act, the release stated.

The plans to expand Missouri’s health care coverage are expected to be beneficial for both Missouri’s economy and quality, the release stated.

"This will improve the health and the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of Missourians and transform the expensive, scattershot way we now provide care for people with no health insurance,” Nixon said in the release.

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