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Missouri leaders outline true cost of proposed Medicaid expansion

Missourians will vote August 4 on expanding Medicaid in the state. Although the political ads make it sound appealing, it would come at a high cost to taxpayers, state leaders said.

Medicaid, which is formally known as MO HealthNet, is a federal and state program that assists with medical costs for residents with limited incomes. Missourians will cast ballots on Amendment Two, the Medicaid expansion proposal, on August 4. If approved by voters, Medicaid would be expanded for residents between the ages of 19 and 64 with an income level at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level, as set forth in the Affordable Care Act.

The ballot measure is projected to cost $200 million in state general revenue and $1.8 billion in federal funding each year, House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, according to Missourinet. He also said it will raise Missouri’s Medicaid rolls from 950,000 to more than 1.2 million participants.

READ: Missourians fear Medicaid expansion will bankrupt the state

“More than $1 billion has been cut from the state’s general revenue budget in recent months,” Smith said in a statement. “Just this month, services requiring state support have been drastically reduced, including elementary school funding, college scholarships and support services for those in need. Amendment Two will be a knockout blow to the state budget as more services will be cut or eliminated to pay for the health care of able-bodied adults.”

The Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest general farm organization, is opposed to Amendment Two. Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst said it could cripple the state budget by imposing massive new healthcare costs on Missouri taxpayers.

Medicaid’s current budget is almost $12 billion for fiscal year 2021. The state’s current operating budget is about $35.2 billion. Thirty-seven states have expanded Medicaid.

In addition, pro-life groups, including Missouri Right to Life, warn that Amendment 2  and Medicaid expansion will open the door to taxpayer-funded abortions and threaten pro-life programs that are assisting young women.

The Missouri Times reports that “Currently, Medicaid dollars are restricted from being used to fund most abortions by the Hyde Amendment, which is an annual rider on a federal appropriations bill. Before Hyde was put in place, an estimated 300,000 abortions nationally were paid for by taxpayers every year.

While the Hyde Amendment has passed for the last 40 years, it is now a target of anti-life legislators who have vowed to defeat the measure which requires only a simple majority vote of both houses of Congress every year. The defeat of the Hyde Amendment is in the Democrat Party platform. The Hyde Amendment is opposed by the leaders of the House and presumptive Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden.”

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice