Court decision means Medicaid expansion stays on ballot

Associated Press
The Rolla Daily News

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Supreme Court decided Wednesday not to take up a lawsuit seeking to block a proposal to expand Medicaid health care from going before voters, meaning it will stay on the August ballot.

Conservative groups Americans for Prosperity-Missouri and United for Missouri sued to take the measure off the ballot, claiming it appropriates money without providing a new revenue source. 

But the Western District appellate court on Monday said the initiative does not at face value require state money to be spent nor direct how much money lawmakers dole out to Medicaid.

The conservative groups appealed, but the Missouri Supreme Court refused to take up the case. 

Amendment 2 on the August ballot would extend eligibility for Missouri's Medicaid program to adults earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level, which is about $17,600 for an individual or $30,000 for a family of three. 

Missouri's program currently does not cover most adults without children, and it's income eligibility threshold for parents is one of the lowest in the nation at about one-fifth of the poverty level.

The ballot measure's financial estimate ranges from an annual cost of at least $200 million by 2026 to an annual savings of $1 billion.