There’s a concerted effort underway right now to convince Missouri legislators to change their collective mind and vote to expand Medicaid. Whether successful or not, expanding Medicaid is the right thing to do.
The Greater Kansas City Chamber has been fully supportive of Medicaid expansion, for two important reasons.
First, it makes good economic sense. Just look at the data:
- From 2014 to 2020, the federal government would contribute $8.2 billion to Missouri’s Medicaid expansion; during that same time period, Missouri’s cost would be $333 million (or just 3.9 percent of expansion costs).
- Expanding Medicaid would generate an additional 24,008 jobs in Missouri in 2014, according to an economic impact study on Medicaid expansion by the University of Missouri.
- That same study found that labor income in the state would increase by nearly $7 billion during the 2014-20 period.
- The study estimated total effects of the original $8.6 billion Medicaid expansion at $9.6 billion of added-value output to the state.
- The authors of the study concluded: “Medicaid expansion would be highly beneficial to the Missouri economy and its citizens.”
Which brings me to my second reason behind the KC Chamber’s support for Medicaid expansion in Missouri: we think it’s critically important that, as a larger community, we take care of everyone, particularly with something as important as health care. Expanding Medicaid provides a way to make sure the most economically-challenged among us have access to good and affordable health care.
Here’s another statistic for you: if the state legislature decided to expand Medicare, more than 218,000 Missourians would suddenly be eligible for that all-important access to health care services.
I should also point out that the failure to expand Medicare will hurt Missouri’s hospitals. They’re looking at $4 billion in cuts to Medicaid and Medicare over the next six years — cuts that were designed to help pay for those newly-insured Missourians.
The KC Chamber has been a staunch proponent of Medicaid expansion in both Missouri and Kansas and will continue to be. It’s the right thing to do, both economically and for those now denied access to the care they and their families need.
We urge you to contact your state legislator and let them know Medicaid should be expanded in Missouri.