By a vote of 95-45, the House on Thursday third read and passed a constitutional amendment on Medicaid. HJR 117, sponsored by Rep. Cody Smith (R-Carthage), would submit to Missouri voters whether Medicaid should be subject to annual appropriation, whether to impose work requirements on recipients aged 19-65, and whether to keep Medicaid for Missouri citizens only.
The MCC opposed the amendment because making the expanded Medicaid program subject to appropriation would likely open the door to reducing benefits in the future. The people of Missouri voted to expand Medicaid when they approved Amendment 2 in August 2020. Moreover, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled 7-0 that the program must now be funded.
The MCC also opposed making recipients of Medicaid subject to work requirements. While the MCC believes in the value and dignity of work, the work requirement would risk undermining the health benefits of the program and the recipient’s ability to work. Moreover, only allowing Missouri residents to receive Medicaid payments would hurt hospitals that care for non-resident patients transferred here for the excellent emergency and tertiary care our hospitals provide.
The HJR will now go to the Senate for more debate.