Missouri Lawmakers Looking at Alternative Medicaid Expansion Plan
November 7, 2013

(AP) – The chairman of a special Missouri House panel outlined potential Medicaid changes Wednesday that could expand coverage to lower-income adults while reducing it for children and eventually saving the state millions of dollars.

The detailed cost estimates presented by state Rep. Jay Barnes assume that Missouri would expand its Medicaid eligibility to a level sufficient enough to trigger a lucrative influx of federal money – something his fellow Republicans repeatedly rejected earlier this year.

The projections also assume Missouri would reap savings by ending Medicaid coverage for tens of thousands of children living in lower-to-middle income families – something that has faced resistance from both some Democrats and Republicans.

Barnes did not have an estimate of how many people could be removed from the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, but he said: “There would be a substantial reduction in eligibility.” Some lawmakers appeared uneasy about that possibility.

“I would just as soon take care of the kids,” said Rep. Sue Allen, R-Town and Country, a member of the interim committee and chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee for Health, Mental Health and Social Services.

Barnes, of Jefferson City, stressed that the potential changes weren’t a formal proposal but rather a starting point for discussions by the House Interim Committee on Medicaid Transformation that he leads. The panel is to meet again later this month as it tries to develop recommendations for the 2014 legislative session.