Governor Nixon visited the University of Missouri campus Thursday morning in an attempt to sell his Medicaid expansion.The federal government is offering to 100 percent of the costs of all participating states that expand their Medicaid program. Nixon needs to persuade lawmakers to expand the program in order for the state to get the federal funding, but first, he is trying to get endorsements from local businesses. However, the Speaker of the House says the state cannot afford the governor’s Medicaid expansion plan at this time.Gov. Nixon told the crowd that currently, the state is paying about 40 percent of the Medicaid costs, but with the new program, the state will not have to pay anything for three years. That could save Missouri about $1.8 billion in the first year alone. He is hoping that will be long enough to jump start the economy and not have to cut thousands of jobs at the end of the program.”Will we bring in tax dollars we send to Washington back home to strengthen our Medicaid system in Missouri or will we let the tax dollars Missourians send to Washington be spent in other states instead?” Nixon asked the audience.The governor claims it will create 24,000 jobs and bring in about $6 billion to the state. Nixon is trying to get endorsements from local economic development groups who believe this is too tempting to pass up.”And very clearly the impact here in Columbia, Boone County will be pretty significant of those 24,000 jobs a lot of those will occur here because of the medical school,” said Regional Economic Development, Inc. President Mike Brooks.ABC 17 News questioned Gov. Nixon about what happens after the third year and if the state would be able to keep all of those jobs once taxpayers start paying into the system. Missouri would have to start paying about five percent in 2017 and no more than ten percent by 2020.”So these matches are so productive these dollars go into the economy so significantly that the economic analysis shows that the state will pick up benefits,” Gov. Nixon answered.The governor will need to have approval from the legislature in order to participate in the federal program.
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