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Nixon's push for Medicaid expansion dies

Nixon's push for Medicaid expansion dies

Nixon's push for Medicaid expansion dies

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Jefferson City • Gov. Jay Nixon’s push to expand Medicaid for Missourians failed.

Nixon argued for taking advantage of 100 percent federal funding for three years, followed by a phased-in, five-year decrease to 90 percent, with the state taking on the remaining 10 percent.

“It’s dead,” Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, said Friday.

Holsman said Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, offered a conservative version of Medicaid expansion that deserved passage. The measure included transparency, entitlement reform and a budget-protection provision to hold Missouri harmless if the federal government withheld funds, Holsman said.

“It was a very well-crafted compromise to this problem,” he said.

Silvey declined comment on his bill.

A filibuster threat by Sens. Rob Schaaf and John Lamping prevented passage, Holsman said.

Failure to pass expansion does not mean the legislature snubbed Medicaid entirely.

“We are still spending 34 percent of our state budget on social services,” Sen. David Pearce said, “and Medicaid gets the lion’s share of that. We still have a very strong commitment and a lot of our state revenues and our state resources go toward Medicaid.”

Lawmakers increased Medicaid funds, he said.

“We put an additional $48 million in for dental, so those that are on Medicaid will have dental service,” Pearce said, though getting such care may remain out of reach. “One of the issues will be having the providers to do it. There are very few dentists that serve Medicaid recipients.”

House Speaker Pro Tempore Denny Hoskins said he hopes people can benefit from the dental health funding.

“When most people think about health, they don’t think about dental, and I’ll tell you what, if you’re low income and you need those dental services performed, this will help,” Hoskins said.

Taking a conservative approach to Medicaid expansion could win approval next year, Hoskins said.

Holsman said Medicaid expansion is needed.

“Medicaid expansion failure was disappointing when we had a plan put together that was really all-encompassing and would have done a lot of really good things for the citizens,” Holsman said, adding, “Senator Silvey’s plan is a good one and he’ll start early next year. There’s Republican support for that plan.”

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