Hospital CEOs, healthcare groups campaign for Medicaid expansion in Missouri

Hospital leaders and patient advocates in Missouri launched an initiative to get Medicaid expansion on the state's 2020 ballot, according to local news station KTTN News.

The campaign aims to let Missouri voters decide whether to expand Medicaid to residents that make less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Steven Edwards, president and CEO of Springfield, Mo.-based CoxHealth, told the news station that 200,000 residents remain uninsured due to the state's decision not to expand Medicaid under the ACA.

"If Missouri had expanded Medicaid, the state would've received $4 billion in federal funding. Instead, money paid by Missouri taxpayers is reallocated to other states like Massachusetts and California, who receive a disproportionate amount of federal funding," Mr. Edwards told KTTN News.

Paula Baker, president and CEO of Freeman Health System in Joplin, Mo., is also advocating for expanded Medicaid. She told the news station: "Medicaid expansion can help reduce high-cost emergency health interventions that could be managed with regular primary care, including access to rescue medications or chronic disease management. Avoiding unnecessary emergency department care will reduce costs for patients and the healthcare system, and increase the efficient use of health resources."

The Healthcare for Missouri coalition, of which the Missouri Hospital Association is a member, will be collecting signatures to bring Medicaid expansion to a vote in 2020.

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