Missouri Medicaid expansion lawsuit trial begins in Cole County

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 4:42 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Three women appeared before a judge Monday in Cole County. They’re fighting for Medicaid expansion.

In August 2020, 53% of Missouri voters approved Medicaid expansion. Missouri Lawmakers claim they don’t have the funding to pay for it.

Shell Knob State Representative Scott Cupps says Missouri needs a better healthcare system, not an expansion of aid.

″Next thing you know, the state has a bill for $1,000s and $1,000s, that should have been something that, if we had a healthcare system that had good access to rural areas, where people actually knew where they could go in, get access to non-emergency health care without going to the emergency room, then that fixes a lot of problems,” said Cupps.

In order to qualify for Medicaid, a family of three would need to make less than $5,400 annually. The expansion would have raised that threshold to $18,000.

”As a practicing physician, I saw the inequities that existed when uninsured people became ill and frequently it was a crisis situation, and their lives were altered if not destroyed because they failed to access healthcare because they were uninsured,” said retired physician Dr.John Mihalevich.

Some lawmakers claim the people who would qualify for Medicaid under the expansion already receive enough aid through the federal Affordable Health Act.

”We just really felt like we needed to make the decision to prioritize folks that that are actually in need, as opposed to pulling money away from them to give to able-bodied, you know, working adults, a system already greatly burdened,” said Cupps.

There are likely to be more legal battles on this issue. The plaintiffs argued in the lawsuit they need the health insurance program to get treatment for asthma and diabetes. The Constitutional amendment approved by voters kicks in on July 1. It applies to an estimated 275,000 more adults

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