For Immediate Release: May 5, 2020
Contact: Traci Gleason
Missouri Representatives are discussing legislation that would cut off access to healthcare while simultaneously costing the state more than $200 million in additional General Revenue. The advancement of this legislation is completely irresponsible at a time when state revenue is plummeting and access to health care is a top priority for millions of Missourians.
“We are in the middle of a pandemic, Missourians are being laid off, and state revenue is declining,” said Amy Blouin, President & CEO of Missouri Budget Project. “Missourians need their lawmakers to prioritize policies that would protect the health of Missourians and mitigate the economic decline, not add red tape to access health insurance.”
This morning, the House Budget Committee heard House Joint Resolution 106, which would amend the State Constitution to require some parents and other non-elderly adults to meet work reporting requirements in order to be eligible for Medicaid. Missouri Budget Project estimates that a similar proposal could cost Missouri more than $215 million a year in state general revenue to implement.
“Unemployment is heading towards 20%,” said Blouin. “This legislation would cut off access to life saving health care to anyone who can’t find work right now, and that’s a lot of their own constituents.”
Evidence from other states shows that these types of requirements increase administrative burdens and create significant costs associated with new tracking mechanisms and the implementation of federally required work supports like job training, child care and transportation. Indiana estimated that employment and training programs would cost $90 per person per month to implement. The state requested federal funding to offset the cost, but the request was denied. As a result, Indiana paid $140 million to implement work reporting requirements for 130,000 people.
“There are nearly 800,000 Missourians providing care to older and disabled loved ones, providing over $8 billion worth of care every year,” said Jay Hardenbrook, Advocacy Director, AARP Missouri. “Family caregivers are often forced to leave work to care for their older relatives, but the entire state relies on caregivers being healthy and able to provide care.”
Missouri has some of the lowest cutoffs for Medicaid eligibility in the country.
“These reporting requirements are bad policy, plain and simple,” added Blouin. “A pandemic is the perfect example of the type of thing that can’t be anticipated, but would make this bill completely unworkable.”
Multiple organizations oppose HJR 106, including:
Action St. Louis
American College of Physicians-Missouri Chapter
Catholic Charities of St. Louis
Communities Creating Opportunities (CCO)
Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri
Missouri Budget Project
Missouri Catholic Conference
Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Missouri Community Action Network
Missouri Faith Voices
Missouri Family Health Council
Missouri Health Care for All
NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri
NCJW St. Louis
Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri
REACH Healthcare Foundation
The St. Louis Regional Health Commission
Vision for Children at Risk
Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice