Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Following Kinder's Lead, House GOP Dramatically Overstate Expected Costs of Medicaid Expansion


Following Kinder's Lead, House GOP Dramatically Overstate Expected Costs of Medicaid Expansion

Like Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, House Republican leaders are going out of their way to ignore the facts and overstate the projected costs of expanded Medicaid edibility as outlined in the House- and Senate-passed health care reform bills. Today, eight GOP leaders, including Speaker Ron Richard, Floor Leader Steven Tilley and Speaker Pro Tem Bryan Pratt wrote Gov. Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster to express their disdain for the federal proposals. 

Republicans opposing health care reform en masse isn't news -- but the refusal by Missouri GOP leaders to talk about the proposed legislation should be. From a story posted today on the Star's Prime Buzz blog:

Republicans contend that could cost the state an additional $450 million a year, based on estimates released by the state Department of Social Services several months ago. Figures reflecting new iterations of the bills haven't been released, they said.

This is false, and you don't have to take my word for it. As printed in the News-Leader last week:

Kinder's claim that the Medicaid expansion could cost Missouri taxpayers "as high as $450 million per year" is much higher than what Nixon's Department of Social Services claims the House or Senate bills would cost Missouri.

DSS officials estimate the House version of Medicaid expansion would cost the state of Missouri $188 million more each year, while the Senate bill would cost state taxpayers an extra $91 million each year.

The Republican leaders don't appear to be contesting the accuracy of the updated estimates from the Department of Social Services -- they're just pretending they don't exist.

Here's an excerpt from an October story in The Beacon:

Nodler and Icet's letter said that the Department of Social Services estimated that the plan would add around 200,000 people to Missouri's program at a cost to state of between $392 million and $454 million.

Scott Rowson, a spokesman for the Department of Social Services, said the more recently passed Senate Finance Committee version of the bill would cost the state around $91 million.

Rowson said the cost could change depending on how the provision is crafted in the final version of the bill.

No one pretends that expanding health care coverage to more low-income Missourians will be free. But the Lieutenant Governor -- and now House GOP leaders -- are choosing to use outdated estimates from the Department of Social Services they know (or should know) are false. 

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