Missouri Medicaid expansion, otherwise known as “Screw You!”

I live in Illinois, just across the Mississippi river from Missouri. I was raised in St. Louis, and have lived my whole life in this region. I know it well.

Missouri is one of the states that “opted out” of the Medicaid expansion part of the  Affordable Care Act, and last month on the St. Louis Public radio, I heard a story about it. If you don’t have time to read or listen to it, I’ll highlight some of the more infuriating parts:

“Missouri’s Medicaid income limits are among the lowest in the nation: a family of three has to make less than $7,000 a year. And as in most states, unless they’re over 65 or disabled, adults with no children can’t get Medicaid at all, no matter how poor they are.”

I fell into that category in college. I had a qualifying disability but no children and two part-time jobs. I was actually made sicker by trying to take care of my health needs.

“In 2014, the federal health care act would expand Medicaid coverage to all adults making less than 133 percent of federal poverty limits. But some state government officials say that can’t happen here. “There is absolutely no way that Missouri can afford the Medicaid expansion,” according to the Lt. Governor. This is possibly because  “Medicaid expansion would add about 300,000 people to Missouri’s Medicaid rolls.”

That is a lot of people, yes, but what’s infuriating about this is that the federal government is paying for that expansion! They would pay 100% for the first three years, and then 90% after that. These costs to the fed would offset this cost by reducing the subsidy THEY ARE CURRENTLY GIVING to private hospitals for charity care for the uninsured. So this means that not only are Missouri hospitals losing an incentive to provide “charity care,” uninsured low-income Missourians (many of whom work) still can’t get Medicaid.

As much as I hate living in the ignored southern part of the great state of Chicago, I mean Illinois, I am glad that we have a large voting bloc in a big city, where more liberal folks tend to congregate. Missouri has no such metropolis.

If you’re poor and uninsured in Missouri:

Insurance and Unbanked? We shall see.

I found several recent articles that signal when the health care changes go into effect next year with the inevitable rise in people having insurance, a new challenge may arise for unbanked citizens. There are, as of 2011, 1 in 12 American households that are unbanked, (referring to people who do not have a formal relationship with a traditional financial institution like a bank or credit union), almost 10 million in total. There are many reasons households (including the over 28.2% that earn less than $15,000 a year) choose not to have a bank account, but some of the biggest reasons they don’t is because either 1)they don’t think they have enough money to warrant one, or 2)they just plain don’t want one.