JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- In a letter signed by the top seven Republicans in the Missouri Senate, Governor Jay Nixon's proposal to expand the number of Missourians eligible for Medicaid was called, "an irresponsible, comprehensive adoption of failed federal policies."
Thursday's letter reaffirmed what has long been assumed, that full expansion of Medicaid in Missouri was not going to be approved by the legislature.
In repeated rallies and speeches across the state, Governor Nixon has pushed Medicaid expansion as his number one priority. However, with strong Republican majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly, there was never any indication that the Governor's desires would become reality.
"The state already spends nearly half of all state general revenue on the Medicaid program," the letter signed by Senate President Pro-Tem Tom Dempsey and six others reads. "An expansion of such a large program with a partner as unreliable as the federal government would likely mean future tax increases or serious cuts to vital priorities, like K-12 education."
Governor Nixon has repeatedly asserted that the expansion he is pushing would be paid for by federal taxes which Missourians must pay whether or not they receive the benefit. He has also recommended attaching a mechanism to the expansion which would invalidate it if the federal funds are not delivered as promised.
"Under the proposed expansion, federal funding will cover 100 percent of the costs of expanding Medicaid to uninsured Missourians making less than 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level for the first three calendar years," Governor Nixon said last week at a stop at Springfield's Burrell Behavioral Health Center. "This will bring a total of $5.7 billion back to Missouri and provide coverage to an additional 300 thousand Missourians -- at no cost to the state."
The Republicans have said from the beginning they simply do not believe that.
Now, they are recommending the Governor give it up.
"We call upon the Governor to begin working toward a common-sense, Missouri solution, instead of an irresponsible, comprehensive adoption of failed federal policies."