By a vote of 20-9 along party lines, the House Budget Committee denied funding for Medicaid Expansion. Funding for expansion of the healthcare program for the poor was broken out in a separate bill, HB 20 sponsored by Rep. Cody Smith (R-Carthage), to allow committee Republicans to voice their opinion on Medicaid expansion, which voters approved in August 2020. The move to separate funding for expansion was thought to be a political posturing move, but by rejecting funding in committee, expansion of the program is now in jeopardy.
The state budget will be debated on the House floor as soon as next week, and there is a chance an amendment would be offered to put funding for expansion back into the budget, but Smith has plans to spend the state portion of Medicaid expansion (10% of the cost or around $200 million) on other programs, suggesting the issue may end up in court. Funding for the current Medicaid program will not be affected, although the state would benefit from expanding the program because the recently passed federal relief bill (the American Rescue Plan) allocated additional funding for Medicaid to states that choose to expand the program.
The MCC is following this issue closely, since the Missouri bishops supported the ballot initiative to expand the program last year.