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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hospitals feel the pain of Missouri's rejection of Obamacare

Posted By on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Here's an editorial from the Joplin, Mo., newspaper that links a reduction in jobs in the Mercy medical system to Missouri's refusal to take the Medicaid expansion provided under the federal Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. 

Medicaid expansions were critical to implementing the Affordable Care Act. In fact, that’s the only way the health care law will work. That’s because cuts to Medicare’s Disproportionate Share Hospital program, which helps reimburse hospitals for uncompensated care, were supposed to be made up for by Medicaid expansion.

Missouri is one of the more than 20 states opting to not accept federal money to expand Medicaid to cover those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $33,000 a year for a family of four. Lack of expansion has also created a coverage gap for adults in a family making less than $23,550. Under the current situation, they are making too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to get assistance to buy a plan in the federal health care exchange.

Happily, thanks to a bipartisan effort led by thoughtful Republicans, Arkansas adopted the Medicaid expansion portion of Obamacare, with private market incentives that made it palatable to roughly half of the Republican delegation in both 2013 and 2014.

Will we be singing the Joplin Blues come spring 2015?

Time will tell.

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