Jefferson City– Gov. Jay Nixon, in his state-of-the-state address to the legislature Jan. 28, came down firmly in support of supporting expansion of the state’s Medicaid program providing healthcare for the poor and disabled and nursing home care for the elderly.
Following his remarks to lawmakers, Nixon took his campaign for Medicaid expansion to business groups in St. Louis and other cities around the state.
His key message: Federal funding will cover 100 percent of the cost for the first three years, which will free up nearly $50 million in the state’s budget to help pay for increases in funding for public schools and higher education.
The support it will provide for hospitals, doctors and other healthcare workers will spur the creation of 25,000 new jobs in the state and give a needed boost to the state’s economy, Nixon told business leaders.
In St. Louis, speaking to the Regional Chamber and Growth Association, Nixon noted that Medicaid expansion had the support of chambers of commerce throughout the state.
Medicaid expansion is also a priority of the state’s unions and Jobs With Justice, an AFL-CIO affiliate, is spearheading a grass roots effort to gain wide public support.
The Governor said the step would yield significant benefits for Missouri taxpayers. “Providing health care for an estimated 300,000 more Missourians – men, women and children – who currently have no health insurance is the smart thing to do, and it’s the right thing to do. If we take a pass on billions of health care dollars – dollars that come out of Missourians’ paychecks – that money will go to some other state. I want to see those dollars go to work and help create jobs here in Missouri – and I’m glad that business leaders agree,” Nixon said in his remarks to business audiences.
Carolyn Chrisman, CEO of the Kirksville Regional Economic Development Inc. said, “Ensuring that the doors of rural hospitals and clinics stay open and their staffs stay employed is critical to protecting the quality of life here in Kirksville – and in smaller communities throughout Missouri.”
Nixon said, “Expanding access to health care for working families in Missouri who are too poor to afford health insurance is the right thing to do.”