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March 2013 Medicaid Expansion

This resolution was passed unanimously by the JCRC Council on March 5, 2013

The JCRC believes that providing access to affordable, high-quality healthcare is critically important for the well-being of all Missourians. As a founding member of Missouri Health Care for All, JCRC worked for passage of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). As Jews, we value the saving of a life and believe there is a moral obligation to make sure that all people receive basic healthcare regardless of income and regardless of where they live.

The Medicaid program was created by the federal government to provide health care for people of low income who cannot afford health services or health insurance on their own. Each state sets its own eligibility criteria for Medicaid. Currently, Missouri is among the most restrictive states in terms of eligibility for Medicaid. The ACA contains provisions to expand the Medicaid program to cover more low income individuals and households, with the federal government paying the entire cost of covering newly eligible Missourians for three years. After three years, the federal share will decline until it reaches 90 percent in 2020. The federal share will remain at 90 percent thereafter.

Supporting expansion of Medicaid in the State of Missouri under the ACA will benefit many of the most vulnerable in our state and enable them to get critically needed healthcare. And providing timely primary care will reduce per capital costs. Failing to expand Medicaid could affect the cost and availability of care even for those with insurance. Doctors and hospitals will face the loss of current federal subsidies for uncompensated care, leading to higher insurance rates and threatening the existence of smaller hospitals, especially those in rural areas.

Medicaid expansion not only would improve health outcomes for Missourians; it would also provide economic and fiscal benefits to the state. According to a recent study by the University of Missouri, Medicaid expansion here would result in an addition of nearly $1.2 billion annually to the state’s economy through the federal contribution to the state’s Medicaid program, producing nearly 24.000 jobs in the year 2014 in health care and related industries. Importantly, Missourians will pay the federal taxes that support Medicaid without regard to the level of participation in the program by the state; expanding Medicaid will recapture those tax dollars for our shared benefit.

There are opportunities to make Medicaid more cost-effective and provide better outcomes, and the JCRC believe that Missouri may want to try some of those strategies. However, expansion of Medicaid should not await reforms that have not yet been proposed or tested in the state.

Therefore, the JCRC supports enactment of legislation to fully implement Medicaid expansion in the State of Missouri.

The St. Louis Jewish Community Relations Council supports taking the following action steps:

• Support full implementation of Medicaid expansion in Missouri.
• Encourage innovative strategies to improve the cost-effectiveness and health outcomes of the Medicaid program.
• Work with other organization

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