Missouri Governor Takes Stand for Medicaid Population

Gov Jay Nixon vetoed a bill that would impose additional fees on Medicaid beneficiaries.

Missouri Gov Jay Nixon recently vetoed a bill that would alter multiple aspects of the state’s Medicaid program, stating it was cruel to price gouge the poorest of their citizens.

The bill, SB 608, would allow copayments for hospital visits and missed appointments, among other issues. Under Section 208.142, the bill states that Medicaid beneficiaries would be required to pay an $8 copayment for visiting the emergency department for the treatment of a condition that is not considered to be an emergency.

Under Section 208.148, Medicare beneficiaries would be required to pay a fee up to $20 for missed appointments or an appointment that was not cancelled within 24 hours prior to the appointment. Beneficiaries would have to pay the fee prior to making a new appointment.

Nixon, however, does not believe that these new laws would be valuable to this population, and believes a more substantial change is needed.

“Senate Bill 608 would needlessly punish our state’s most vulnerable citizens without improving access to care or bringing Missourians’ tax dollars back to Missouri,” Nixon said in his veto message.

The governor states that imposing these fees upon low-income and disabled individuals is cruel, and added that some of these individuals may not have transportation to receive medical care, other than an ambulance.

He also said that legislature has not supported Medicaid expansion in the past, and has lost billions of dollars of funding as a result. The governor said their tax money is going to states who have expanded Medicaid rather than back to their state.

Had they expanded Medicaid, an additional $300,000 individuals would be covered, which could lead to new jobs in the healthcare field, and more federal funding for their Medicaid program, according to the veto statement.

“Gouging the poor while continuing to send our tax dollars to go to other states is not reforming our Medicaid system,” Nixon concluded.