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Want to Give Your Two Cents’ Worth on Medicaid in Missouri? Tuesday Hearing is the Place

Group of lawmakers and civilians has been charged with the task of gathering feedback on eligibility, needed reforms within the government health care program for the poor
(Photo credit: KSMU)

A group looking into how to improve the state’s Medicaid program will hold a public hearing Tuesday ( 7/16) in Springfield.  As KSMU’s Jennifer Davidson reports, anyone hoping to give comments or simply observe is welcome to attend.

The official name of the group is Citizens and Legislators Working Group on Medicaid Eligibility and Reform, and like the name implies, its goal is to  hear from the public on how to improve Missouri’s Medicaid system. Medicaid is the government program that administers health care to the poor.

State lawmakers will use what they learn from this hearing to help make a decision whether to expand Medicaid in Missouri under the new, federal health care plan. That expansion is optional for states.

Under Missouri’s current system, to be eligible for Medicaid, you must make below 19 percent of the federal poverty level. The expansion would raise that eligibility to cover people up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.  For a family of four, that eligibility would jump from ahousehold income of $4,475 a year to $32,499 a year.

Currently, able-bodied adults without children do not qualify for Medicaid, regardless of income.

Under the expansion, individuals under 65 would be covered if they earned less than about $15,000 a year.

The federal government says it will pay the vast majority of that program, but some conservatives say they’re concerned that it might turn into an unfunded mandate. It’s also a politically-sensitive decision, since the Medicaid expansion is part of President Barack Obama’s health care plan, often referred to as Obamacare.

Supporters say an additional 300,000 Missourians would have access to health care.

The hearing is is scheduled to convene at 9 a.m. on the campus of Ozarks Technical Community College.

Questions concerning the hearing can be referred to the office of Rep. Noel Torpey at noel [dot] torpey [at] house [dot] mo [dot] gov or 573.751.3623.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Davidson.  


And to see our extended coverage of the Medicaid expansion issue lawmakers are facing in Missouri right now, here are some links:

"Hospitals Brace for Impact of Federal Cuts as Lawmakers Wrap Up Session Without Addressing Medicaid Expansion"

"Rural Ozarks Hospital Says It Could See a 60 Percent Reduction in Bottom Line if Medicaid Expansion Fails"

"Despite Rural Business, Health Groups’ Endorsement of Medicaid Expansion, Conservative Reps Still Not Convinced"

"Nixon Says Business Case Being Made for Medicaid Expansion"

"Reforms—and for Some, Health Care—Put on the Back Burner As Lawmakers Wrap Up Session Without Addressing Medicaid Expansion"