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Federal effort grows to give cities option to expand Medicaid

Moderates may lose a major fight on Medicaid
Posted at 1:53 PM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 14:53:12-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A growing number of Democratic house lawmakers are working to give local municipalities the option of expanding medicaid if they are in states that have not adopted expansion.

Despite Missouri voters approving medicaid expansion in August 2020, state lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on how to fund the expansion during the 2021 legislative session.

The lack of legislation means Missouri joins Kansas as one of a handful of states that have yet to expand Medicaid.

IN-DEPTH COVERAGE: Local providers support expansion

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D - Missouri), who represents areas including Kansas City, Missouri, is one of the co-sponsors of the federal legislation that would allow counties and cities in states like Missouri and Kansas to work directly with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“Today, I’m proud to stand with my Democratic colleagues and vulnerable Missourians who are sick and tired of political obstructionism standing in the way of access to quality healthcare,” Cleaver said in a release. “When not even a free and fair election can convince the state legislature to listen to the will of the people of Missouri, it’s become abundantly clear that Congress must fill the void of inaction. The exceptional leadership demonstrated by local leaders throughout the pandemic gives me confidence that they can—and will—accept the federal resources necessary to provide Missouri families with the healthcare they need and deserve.”

The legislation, named Cover Outstanding Vulnerable Expansion-Eligible Residents Now Act, has already earned the support of KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas.

On Friday, a judge is set to review the latest filings in a lawsuit filed in Missouri by three women who qualify for Medicaid coverage.

State officials defending the legislature’s actions say the lawsuit doesn’t correctly interpret the law.

It is believed that with Medicaid expansion, an additional 275,000 Missourians would receive coverage at a cost of $200 million.