Medicaid Expansion Should Be Based on Facts, Not Politics

The Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) recently published a report called: Data Book: Missouri Health and Health Care. This report was designed to help members of the Missouri legislature understand the facts of the Missouri Medicaid program so that legislators could make informed decisions in the upcoming session.

Some interesting facts from this report I want like to share with you:

  • Missouri national health ranking has fallen 75 percent since 1990, from 24th best in the nation in 1990 to 8th worst in 2012
  • More than half of the nearly 900,000 Missourians currently enrolled in Medicaid are children. However, these enrollees account for only about 25 percent of the state’s Medicaid spending. Persons with disabilities and the elderly account for less than 30 percent of the Medicaid enrollees but they account for about 66 percent of the program expenditures.
  • Medicaid pays for nearly 50 percent of all births in the state in 2012.
  • In 1990, 39.5 percent of the state’s Medicaid budget was funded through Missouri general revenue funds, and in 2012 only 17.8 percent was funded by general revenue funds. The rest is funded by the federal government and the state provider tax (paid for by hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacy and ambulance providers). The total cost of Medicaid in Missouri is approximately $8 billion per year.
  • Uninsured Missourians go to the hospital emergency department more for dental issues than any other health concern.
  • The per member per month administrative cost of fee-for-service Medicaid through the state agency is less expensive than managed care.

All of these facts and many others contained in the MHA Data Book will hopefully be considered when the legislature reconvenes in January 2014. The discussion on whether to expand and/or reform Medicaid should be based upon facts and not partisan politics.

Reasonable people can be opposed to the President and still seek ways to improve health care for the poor. There is a reason why Missouri ranks 42nd in the nation among the states in health status. Republicans and Democrats need to work together to improve the health outcomes in our state.

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