Top Missouri lawmaker OK not paying for Medicaid expansion

Associated Press
Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri's top Republican state senator on Thursday said he doesn't want lawmakers to pay for government health care for thousands of newly eligible low-income adults. 

Missouri voters last year amended the state Constitution to extend eligibility for Medicaid to thousands more low-income adults under former President Barack Obama's national health care law.

But Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz told reporters that voters didn't get to weigh in on how to fund the expansion. 

"Without that, I'm not advocating that we would fund Medicaid expansion," Schatz said. "I think if voters had the opportunity to choose – given all the information – I don't believe they would have overwhelmingly passed Medicaid expansion, because the costs have to come from somewhere." 

The GOP-led state House last week passed a budget proposal that doesn't include money to pay for health care for the newly eligible adults once the program kicks in July 1. 

The House's lawmaker in charge of crafting the budget has said he hopes the move will prevent the state from providing those health care services. 

Lawmakers have until May to finalize a budget proposal and send it to Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who included funding for Medicaid expansion in his budget request to lawmakers this year.