We’ll learn new details Friday in Jefferson City about how Missouri will proceed with voter-approved Medicaid expansion.

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Edward Beetem views a slide presentation from attorney Chuck Hatfield during a June 21st hearing in Jefferson City on Missouri’s Medicaid expansion lawsuit (file photo courtesy of News-Tribune” pool photographer Julie Smith)

The Missouri Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision on July 22, ruling that Missouri’s August Medicaid expansion ballot measure was constitutional. The court sent the case back to Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem for him to enter a judgment for the plaintiffs, who are three low-income women with various health issues. Judge Beetem will hold a hearing Friday afternoon at 1, which will involve a final order in the Medicaid expansion case.

The Missouri Supreme Court’s 14-page ruling includes a conclusion, which requires Friday’s hearing in Cole County Circuit Court.

“For the reasons set forth above, the circuit court’s judgment is affirmed only insofar as it overruled the Proposed Intervenors’ motion to intervene. In all other respects, the judgment (Judge Beetem’s June ruling) is vacated, and the cause is remanded to the circuit court to enter judgment for the plaintiffs, which includes determination of the appropriate injunctive relief,” the Missouri Supreme Court’s July 22nd decision says.

Injunctive relief is what Judge Beetem will order the state to do.

The three plaintiffs are Stephanie Doyle of St. Louis, Melinda Hille of Fenton and Autumn Stultz of Springfield. They suffer from diabetes and various skin conditions. Missouri’s Medicaid expansion lawsuit case is a high-profile one that impacts about 275,000 potential new Medicaid recipients. Medicaid is a federal and state program that assists with medical costs for residents with limited incomes.

53 percent of Missouri voters approved Medicaid expansion in August 2020. However, it failed in 107 of Missouri’s 114 counties. The opposition to Medicaid expansion this year primarily came from rural GOP lawmakers who represent those districts. They say Missouri cannot afford Medicaid expansion.

Supporters disagree, saying the funding is available and that the voters statewide have spoken.

Judge Beetem ruled in late June that Missouri’s August Medicaid expansion ballot measure was unconstitutional, because it did not contain a funding mechanism. The Missouri Supreme Court overturned that decision.

The final page of the Supreme Court’s July decision sums up this case in a paragraph. The court writes, in part: “DSS and Mo HealthNet are bound by article IV, section 36(c) concerning which individuals are eligible to enroll when it spends the appropriated funds. Consequently, DSS has appropriation authority to provide services for all individuals eligible for Mo HealthNet, including individuals eligible for coverage and services pursuant to article IV, section 36(c).”

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