Election Results: Medicaid in Missouri and the Legal Implications that Follow

Missourians went to the voting booths on Tuesday, August 4th to vote in their party’s gubernatorial primary and weigh their voices on Amendment 2, which would expand Medicaid. Missouri voters selected Governor Mike Parson as the GOP candidate and State Auditor Nicole Galloway as the Democratic candidate for the 2020 Missouri Gubernatorial Election. Voters also chose to expand Medicaid.

How Is the Expanded Program Going to Work?

Much of the focus surrounding the August election was on Medicaid expansion. Missouri will be the 38th state to expand Medicaid. According to the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, Medicaid expansion will create 16,000 new jobs and around $2.5 billion in economic output in the first five years of expansion.

Despite voting “yes” for Medicaid expansion at the polls, residents will not feel the effects of Medicaid until implementation begins in the Missouri State Legislature. Some Missourians are worried about the legislature’s reluctance to implement the expansion.

Proponents of Medicaid expansion say expanding Medicaid helps provide more people with more coverage and brings in federal funding to cover costs for newly eligible patients. Lawmakers say that federal funding will cover 90% of Medicaid expansion. Meanwhile, patients will have to foot the bill for the other 10%. Opponents of Medicaid expansion believe that the 10% of funding not covered by the federal government will be too much for residents to bear and will only increase state taxes and cut funding to other programs within Missouri.

According to KOMU, under expansion, Medicaid is accessible to low-income, able-bodied adults. Under Missouri’s previous Medicaid program, benefits were only available to certain groups of people. Additionally, there was an annual income cap for recipients. Below are the eligible groups and their respective income caps as specified under the previous Medicaid program:

  • People over 65 years old – $10,846
  • Single pregnant women – $38,918
  • Parents – $2,297
  • Children in families of three – $66,305 (or more for large families)
  • People who suffer from blindness – $12,760
  • People with disabilities – $10,846

Medicaid expansion significantly broadens the categories of eligible individuals. About 113,000 Missourians are stuck between being eligible for Medicaid and not being able to afford health insurance. Medicaid expansion aims to reduce that number by as much as 60% in the first five years of the program.

Legal Implications of Medicaid Expansion

For us in the legal world, we see a new and expanded opportunity for our personal injury clients with limited income seeking treatment for their injuries. With expanded Medicaid, treatment should become more available and affordable for those with limited income. If you or a family member is suffering from a personal injury and you are having trouble with insurance companies, contact a personal injury lawyer in Columbia today. You do not want to face insurance companies alone.