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Dems Push Medicaid Expansion

Democrats in Missouri’s House of Representatives have filed legislation that would expand the state’s Medicaid eligibility requirements. They say it would create thousands of jobs and spur billions of dollars in economic activity. But it will be a challenge to get the bill passed. Next week, House republicans are set to introduce their own Medicaid legislation, so it is likely this might never make it to a vote. House democrats want to expand the state’s medicaid eligibility to 138 % of the federal poverty level, to get about $8.2 billion of federal investment. In so doing, they say it would create 24,000 new jobs, and create $9.6 billion in economic activity — but it remains unclear whether they can garnish the support of lawmakers on the other side of the aisle. House Minority Floor Leader Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis City said Monday, “The bottom line is, we think this is the way to go; we think this is what we should be doing. Will we work with [republicans]? Yes, but we think this is right for the state.” Republicans have their own ideas, and they say expanding Medicaid into what Washington wants, is not the direction they want to go. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City said, “My challenge is figuring out a way to make a system that, under its current iteration, is broken, has ever-expanding costs, with poor results for recipients and find a way to transform it into a system that is fiscally sustainable over the long term, that injects free-market principles into it, and that actually improves the results for the recipients.” Barnes would not give any details about what might be in his bill until he actually files the legislation. Barnes said he intends to file the republicans’ counter plan next week.

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