Governor Blunt has outlined a plan to provide health insurance for thousands of Missouri’s working poor.
The governor wants the legislature to move some money around within the budget and use federal matching funds to let low-income working Missourians buy health insurance and to let more small business employers provide coverage for workers. He calls the program "Insure Missouri."
For workers whose earnings are less than the poverty level, they’d have co-pays of no more than three-dollars per claim and the state would provide insurance. For those up to 185 percent of poverty, they’d pay as much as five percent of their income for state subsidized insurance.
Blunt plans to take some of the money away from charity care to pay those costs. But he’d leave some money available for care of those who are not in the program. But he says people with insurance who now go to emergency rooms because they are not covered will not be "flooding" emergency rooms in the future.
The legislature will have to take some actions next year to make the program work fully, but Blunt thinks the first phase can start as early as February.
Not unexpectedly, Blunt’s likely re-election opponent next year, Jay Nixon, has nothing good to say about the idea. He says it’s a misguided plan that has failed in other states. Blunt calls it "a more effective use of state resources."