Missouri is working to make its Medicaid program sustainable after voters approved the expansion of the government healthcare program. The 2020 campaign added roughly another 230,000 low-income adults to the program.

During a state budget subcommittee hearing, Todd Richardson, Director of MO HealthNet, gave an overview on how enrollment is looking versus the expenses it takes to make the department run efficiently. Richardson, a Republican and former Missouri House speaker, said that enrollment from FY21 through the current fiscal year increased by leaps and bounds.

“Driven by two factors, one, the public health emergency (PHE) and the continuous eligibility requirements of the PHE and then second, Medicaid expansion approved by the voters and implemented by the department in ’23,” he said. “You can also see the increase in our total state Medicaid expenditures over that period of time that tracks, mostly, in line with that growth in enrollment.”

But amidst that growth, the department’s revenue is flat.

“If Medicaid expenditures are growing faster than the state’s general revenue’s growing, we’re, by definition, not sustainable,” Richardson said. “What this is showing you, at least over this period of time is, I want to waive the flag and say, mission accomplished, it’s a sustainable program. But we have made significant progress in limiting the amount of general revenue that Medicaid is consuming compared to the overall state operating budget.”

The department becoming sustainable is something that surprised Rep. John Black, R-Marshfield.

“I would guess that that is a concept that most people never think about,” Black said. “That one of your goals, one of your primary goals is to make sure that the program stays sustainable, and that the growth of the GR budget is on a percentage basis or a dollar basis more than the growth of your program.”

Copyright 2023, Missourinet.