Ozarks' lawmaker says more than 60,000 children kicked off Medicaid should still qualify

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri lawmakers between 2014 to 2018, the Affordable Care Act added more than 120,000 thousand people to Missouri's Medicaid system.

"A lot of people were put onto Medicaid who didn't really qualify," said Rep. David Wood, R-Versailles.

Wood says the state wasn't properly vetting those who were being enrolled to Medicaid in that four year span. That changed two years ago.

"So as a result, a lot of those people who were especially put on the family coverage, which is very difficult to qualify for, were told they no longer had coverage under Medicaid," Wood said.

While the parents for these plans might not qualify, Wood says nearly 60,000 Missouri children most likely do.

"They're still sitting out there," Wood said. "We cover children up to 300% of poverty, which is a fairly high level. You can be a family of four and making roughly $75,000 a year and still be qualifying for Medicaid. But if you don't apply, those children don't come back on."

That's a stark difference from what Governor Mike Parson said during a sit-down interview after his State of the State last month.

"Yes, they had children, part of those families did. But, they're out working out in the workforce. They're taking care of their own families," Parson told KY3/KSPR's Andrew Havranek. . "It should always be about trying to get people off of there instead of just trying to bring people on to the Medicaid rolls."

Missouri House Minority Leader Crystal Quade of Springfield says getting the children re-enrolled shouldn't just be on the parents.

She says the state's letter saying these families had lost coverage doesn't tell parents they could re-enroll their children in a child Medicaid plan.

"What I have seen, when my constituents have reached out, is they just think that they get completely denied," Quade said. "Saying that, 'yes, these children should have coverage and they don't' is not enough."

Quade and Wood both agree the application process needs to be easier. An application can be up to 63 pages.