Statement from Amy Blouin, Missouri Budget Project Executive Director
New census data indicate that hundreds of thousands of Missourians still can’t get the health care they need to be healthy, productive members of their communities. About one in every ten, or 583,000 Missourians, was uninsured at the time of the American Community Survey – a number that would have been significantly reduced had Missouri expanded Medicaid as provided through the Affordable Care Act. Our state can still expand Medicaid in the next legislative session and benefit from the many ways Medicaid makes people’s lives better while saving the state money and boosting the economy.
While Missouri’s uninsured rate has declined along with the rest of the nation, the uninsured rate is significantly higher in states that have not expanded Medicaid (12.3%), as compared to states that did (7.2%). In addition, for those living in poverty or near the poverty level, the rate of decline in the number of uninsured was significantly lower in non-Expansion states as compared to Expansion states.
Notably, while Missouri historically has had an uninsured rate consistently below the national average, by failing to expand Medicaid, it is now above the national average. Missourians are struggling, and our state is losing out.
Medicaid expansion would reduce uncompensated care, save state tax dollars, and create jobs. And hundreds of thousands of Missourians could access the health care they need to work, take care of their kids, and lead healthy, happy lives.