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Missouri Politics

Missouri Senate votes against Medicaid expansion

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Late Wednesday night, the Missouri Senate voted 20-14 against paying for Medicaid expansion.

That proposal blocked funding to the state budget. The vote solidifies the house's decision not to pay for the expansion.

Missouri residents originally voted in 2020 to expand eligibility for government health care coverage to thousands of additional low-income adults. The approval amended the state's Constitution.

Democratic representatives and groups were noticeably upset after the decision dropped Wednesday night.

The Missouri Senate Democrats posted to Twitter, calling the vote unconstitutional.

"Because of the overwhelming support of Missouri voters, Medicaid expansion is in our state's constitution. Every state senator swore an oath to uphold that constitution. By not funding Medicaid expansion, these budget bills violate that oath and are unconstitutional.

Funding for Medicaid expansion is now an issue for the courts. Going forward, the more immediate question is what happens on July 17.

Will the governor's administration enroll eligible Missourians as stated in the constitution, or will state officials block healthcare for more than 230,000 low-income workers?

Senate Democratic Leader John Rizzo (D-Independence)

State Senator Lauren Arthur (D-Clay County) said she was disheartened.

"In 7 years in the legislature, last night was as disheartened as I’ve ever felt," Arthur wrote on Twitter. "The Senate Appropriations Committee, on which I sit, refused to fund Medicaid expansion—enshrined by voters into the MO Constitution. People deserve better than having their will ignored by electeds."

Republicans were relatively quiet following the big decision Wednesday, with State Senator Bob Onder (R-St. Charles County) being the sole republican Senator to speak on the expansions failure on Twitter.

"Medicaid expansion fails in mo senate!" Onder said on Twitter.

If no changes are made and expansion is not funded in the budget, the program would likely set up a court battle.

ABC 17 News contacted state lawmakers representing mid-Missouri districts after business hours for more reaction but has not heard back.

Check back here or watch ABC 17 News This Morning at 6 for the latest updates.

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Ben Fein

Ben Fein is a multimedia journalist for ABC 17 News. You can usually see his reports on weekend mornings or weekdays at 5, 6 and 6:30 p.m. on KMIZ.

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