Could You Survive on $354 Per Month?

Currently in Missouri, if you are a parent with three children and have an income of more than $4,250 per year ($354 per month), then you are considered too rich to participate in the Medicaid program.

Currently, Missouri state law assumes that a parent who earns more than $354 per month can afford to buy their own health insurance in addition to paying for housing, food, clothing, transportation, education, etc. for their family. Obviously, this amount is ridiculously low but this is our current law. This is one reason why we have so many uninsured folks in our state.

The Affordable Care Act gives the states the option of raising that annual Medicaid eligibility income level to about $32,500 per year for a family of four ($2,708 per month). This is a much more reasonable level but it certainly does not put people on easy street.

In order for Missouri to take advantage of this higher level of support, the Missouri legislature must approve a bill to expand Medicaid as called for in the Affordable Care Act. Two bills are currently pending in the legislature—one bill authored by the House Republicans and one authored by the Democrats.

The current Medicaid eligibility level is so low it is hard to imagine how anyone could argue that an increase was not necessary. Hopefully the legislative process will reach a conclusion that allows poor people to be treated more humanely. I believe each of us should have access to quality health, mental health and oral health care. In Missouri, we need to change our current laws to reach this milestone.


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HCF's Local Health Buzz Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact HCF Communications Officers, Jennifer Sykes, at jsykes@hcfgkc.org.

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