Missouri withdraws plans for Medicaid expansion

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Missouri notified CMS it is formally withdrawing its planned Medicaid expansion, the state governor's office said May 13. 

Missouri residents voted in favor of expanding the state's Medicaid program Aug. 4, 2020. The move would have expanded the state's MO HealthNet Medicaid program to individuals between 100 and 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

However, Gov. Mike Parson's office said Missouri's constitution doesn't allow ballot initiatives to appropriate funds without creating a revenue source. On May 7, the state's General Assembly finalized a budget for fiscal year 2022 that didn't include funding for the MO HealthNet expansion.

"Although I was never in support of MO HealthNet expansion, I always said that I would uphold the ballot amendment if it passed. The majority of Missouri voters supported it, and we included funds for the expansion in our budget proposal," Mr. Parson said in a news release. "However, without a revenue source or funding authority from the General Assembly, we are unable to proceed with the expansion at this time and must withdraw our State Plan Amendments to ensure Missouri's existing MO HealthNet program remains solvent."

The Missouri Department of Social Services estimated the expansion would have required $1.9 billion in funds in fiscal year 2022, though most of that would be covered by the federal government, with Missouri responsible for about $120 million, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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