I wrote last week about the journey toward Medicaid, Part 1. I was asked by several people what Part 2 would be. That remains to be determined.
Part 1 included the work that went into laying the groundwork around Medicaid changes in Missouri. This was the opportunity for people to examine and understand the options for Medicaid expansion. It was the opportunity to examine and understand the ramifications to the state and to Missouri residents when we chose not to expand.
Part 1 included understanding who is currently not eligible for Medicaid in Missouri. Many parents of children and all of those adults under 65 without children do not have the option of Medicaid. Most of those who are uninsured are working. Opportunities for full health and full employment are limited by untreated disease.
Part 1 also included watching 152,000 people enroll in newly available insurance but also watching 300,000 people sit on the sidelines because they had too little money to use that new marketplace. Part 1 also included watching what has been successful in other states and assessing what is most important to a Missouri solution.
To date, 27 states and DC have expanded or are in the process, three are still debating the issue, and 21 (including Kansas and Missouri) are not expanding at this time. This is where Part 2 comes in. Crafting a solution that works financially and practically for those who will benefit most. Crafting a plan that helps people stay employed and healthy enough to raise families. Crafting a plan that meets people’s preventive, mental and physical health needs. There are many models that will get us to that place.
I am very hopeful that with so many recognizing the need to set our sights on being a healthier state, that we will make great progress in the next year.