Supporters of Medicaid Expansion aren’t giving up, even as the majority Republican party continues to assert its position against expanded eligibility.
The House on Tuesday twice rejected amendments to its proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2015 that would have included federal money for expansion. The day before, five Senate Republicans said they would block any attempt at expansion that would reach floor debate in their chamber.
Proponents say Missouri should accept expansion under the provisions of federal healthcare reform and the money from the federal government that would come with it.
Still, the Director of the Missouri Medicaid Coalition Michelle Trupiano says she remains optimistic.
“I’m feeling positive that with all the support from Missourians across the state saying, ‘Let’s figure out a way to do this,'” Trupiano tells Missourinet. “Whether it’s in Joplin or whether it’s in southeast Missouri or whether it’s in northwest Missouri, everybody’s saying we have to get this done this year … that we can’t afford another $2-billion passing us by.”
Among the various legislation that has been filed, Trupiano doesn’t know what the path to expansion is at this point.
“I think that there are several different possibilities, so we’re going to keep working on both the House and the Senate and find opportunities where they are to try to move expansion.”
Legislative Majority Republicans say the federal government doesn’t have enough money to support Medicaid expansion and say for Missouri to accept expansion would only add to the national debt, while applying more money to a broken system. Some Republican leaders say they prefer Medicaid reform over expansion of eligibility.
A House Republican proposal to expand and reform Medicaid is still moving in committee.
Trupiano says she thinks the expansion debate has advanced a lot since last year.
“Last year if you mentioned the words ‘Medicaid expansion,’ everyone just turned up their nose and said, ‘no,'” says Trupiano. “I think people are very open to it on both sides … to come to the table, to look at that compromise, to look at reforms that include also increasing the eligibility limits.”
She says she still believes Medicaid expansion can pass this year.
“Eight weeks are still a long time until session ends and a lot can happen during that time.”