So-called 'Missouri Solution' put forward as plan to expand Medicaid

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Missouri is losing millions of dollars every day because the legislature won't approve Medicaid expansion.

On Tuesday, Governor Jay Nixon debuted a webpage on the office Missouri state website. It's an interactive map that tracks how much federal tax revenue paid by Missourians is going to states that have expanded, and it totals $5.7 million a day for the state, or $2 billion per year.

Now hopes for expansion continue to fade in the Missouri legislature.

Republican Sen. Ryan Silvey has proposed a so-called "Missouri Solution" to the problem. It calls for money that would be saved under Medicaid expansion in Missouri to go into a trust fund that could be used if the state ever has to pay out money under the program.

"The savings generated from the additional federal match would then go into a fund that we call a taxpayer protection fund," said Silvey. "So essentially we would take the savings generated by taking some of our current populations to the higher federal match, and put them in a fund that would be used later to pay our state match."

He went on to say, "But in the event that that fund doesn't have enough money, I put a backstop in. That the money would essentially come out of the hospitals or the providers instead of the state taxpayers."

The filing deadline for introducing new bills in Missouri has passed, and there's only a slim chance Silvey's proposal could be included as an amendment to an existing bill.

"We have a few people that are just strongly against it right now," said Silvey. "They think anything tied to Obamacare is a problem, and that we should just throw up our hands and say no. But the reality is, with term limits, some of those individuals won't be back next year."

But Democratic Sen. Paul LeVota says he's already had a similar proposal on the table.

"It's good news that we're inching towards Medicaid expansion, that the majority decides that there may be a way to do this," said LeVota. "But my other reaction is frustration because we've always had a good solution."

No one on either side of the political aisle is optimistic Medicaid expansion will even come up for a vote in the Missouri senate this session.

Expansion will likely have to wait for next year.


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