This week the Missouri House gave first-round approval to the state budget for FY 2014. The budget did not include any funds to expand Medicaid as requested by Governor Jay Nixon.
During debate, several attempts were made by House Democrats to expand Medicaid, but all were defeated, mostly along party lines. In one amendment, Representative Jeff Roorda (D-Barnhart) asked that the budget be sent back to committee and add $940 million for Medicaid needs. Several Democrats noted the positive financial impact that expanding Medicaid would have in creating jobs and keeping rural hospitals financially stable.
Republicans responded that it was foolish to spend money on a system that many see as broken. (The Medicaid reform bill, HB 700, is still in committee and has not yet been considered by the full House. Supporters of HB 700, including the MCC, are hoping the House will reconsider the funding of Medicaid if and when the body approves of HB 700.)
The $26 billion state budget (representing state and federal funds) is expected to receive final House approval before the legislature breaks on Thursday for Easter. The budget will then be sent to the Senate for debate. By law the state budget must be completed by the general assembly and sent to the governor by the first Friday in May.