Missouri lawmakers to hear testimony on Medicaid expansion and tax credits

Medicaid Expansion

Missouri lawmakers will hear testimony on Tuesday in Jefferson City about potential impacts on the state budget if voters approve Medicaid expansion in August.

Medicaid, which is officially called MO HealthNet in Missouri, is a federal and state program that assists with medical costs for residents with limited incomes.

Missouri voters will cast ballots on Amendment Two in August, and the House Budget Committee will hear testimony Tuesday afternoon from 1-5 about potential budget implications.

Missouri’s current Medicaid budget is about $10 billion, about one-third of the state’s approximately $30 billion budget.

36 states have approved Medicaid expansion.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has endorsed Amendment Two, describing it as a “pro-jobs measure that will help fuel economic growth throughout our state.” The Chamber cites a report from the Missouri Foundation for Health, which says Medicaid expansion will create more than 16,000 new jobs annually during its first five years, creating more state revenue.

The Missouri Hospital Association also backs Medicaid expansion, saying ten rural Missouri hospitals have closed since 2014.

Top Missouri GOP leaders oppose Medicaid expansion, warning it will impact the budget, causing cuts in other programs.

House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, says it would take dollars out of the classroom. He notes it would require a ten percent match, for the 90 percent drawdown.

House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, R-Carthage, agrees, warning it will blow a hole in the state operating budget. Governor Mike Parson (R) has expressed similar concerns.

The Budget Committee will also meet Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon for their annual tax credit review hearing. Tax credits are essentially money that can be offset against a tax liability.

Budget Chairman Smith tells Missourinet that the state-issued $551 million in tax credits in fiscal year 2019. Supporters of tax credits in the Legislature say they’re critical to landing key projects, especially in rural Missouri.

But opponents say they decrease funding for other parts of the state budget.

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Brian Hauswirth

About Brian Hauswirth

Brian Hauswirth began as Missourinet news director in July 2016. He anchors daily newscasts, simulcasts and special reports from the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, where he primarily covers the Missouri House and numerous legislative committee hearings.