Davis, Moon disagree on Medicaid expansion
Saturday, October 15, 2016
The two candidates for the Missouri House of Representatives’ 157th District have opposite opinions on how the state should handle Medicaid, with one supporting expansion of the program ands the other opposing it.
Medicaid, a joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs for those with limited income and resources, takes up a majority of the state’s $27 billion budget, at about 35 percent. The cost of the program has been rising exponentially in recent years, leading to an increased allotment in the state’s budget in an attempt to keep up.Challenging for the House seat, Stephanie Davis, I-Mt. Vernon, said since the state already sends money to the federal government for Medicaid, the state should expand the program and bring some of those dollars back.
“There are 30 other states that have expanded Medicaid [as part of the Affordable Care Act], and they are all seeing much more stability, especially in rural areas,” she said. “I have spoken with several higher-ups at Mercy and Cox hospitals, and they all say expansion would be a good thing because it would allow them to keep better care of people and do more for lower income individuals who may not be able to pay a bill.”
Incumbent Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, said he is not in favor of expansion because of the cost the state would have to bear in the future.”The government pays 90-plus percent of the expense now, but that will go down to 90 percent by 2020, and just that 10 percent adds tens of thousands of dollars to the state budget,” he said. “To do the expansion, we would have to consider a tax increase or cut from other programs.”
Davis said there are other benefits to expanding Medicaid outside of getting more people access to healthcare.
“If hospitals know they will at least get some of that, they can expand, and that can also bring jobs because those bills are being paid,” she said. “The funny thing is, even [Republican Presidential Candidate Donald] Trump is in favor of Medicaid expansion. He says he’s not, but if you look at his plan, it is an expansion of Medicaid.”
Davis pointed to articles on ConservativeReview.com and Bloomberg Politics, quoting Trump saying that as president, he would use Medicaid to cover the poor who cannot afford private health insurance. She also referenced articles from the Kansas Health Institute, which credit the closing of some hospitals to the rejection of Medicaid expansion, and quote the Kansas Hospital Association saying the rejection has cost the state more than $1 billion since the start of 2014.
“We would definitely have issues [in Missouri] with how to fund [expansion], and we need better infrastructure and more investment in medical technology,” Davis said. “That should bring costs down, and if hospitals can take more patients and know they are getting reimbursed, that will help.
“I agree we need to repeal Obamacare, but we have to have something in place first, especially for those with preexisting conditions.”
Moon said instead of expansion, he would look to local clinics to help combat any lack of coverage, specifically by using direct primary care clinics.
“There is a group of physicians in Springfield that does this sort of old-time doctor-patient relationship,” he said. “Patients pay a monthly fee, and there is no insurance and no additional costs except for things like lab work.
“Another potential solution is to steer newly trained physicians to areas where individuals are unable to pay or where access to medical care is limited. Physicians would contract with medical schools to swap school bills for service. Medical treatments would not be free, but the costs could be greatly reduced.”