Mo. House GOP lawmakers defeat Medicaid expansion

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 25, 2013 at 4:53 pm •  Published: February 25, 2013
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Republicans rejected the Democratic plan modeled on Obama's health care law with unusual efficiency — hearing testimony from more than 30 witnesses supporting it, and one opponent, and then immediately voting down the legislation in Barnes' committee. Missouri legislative committees typically wait a week or more to vote on legislation after hearing testimony.

Those supporting the Democrats' Medicaid expansion included representatives of social services, health care and business organizations, including some who typically support Republicans. They noted that under the federal health care law, hospitals are to receive less money for treating Medicare and uninsured patients on the assumption that they will get more money under an expanded Medicaid roll.

If Medicaid is not expanded, hospitals could take a financial hit and seek to recoup some of their lost money through higher bills to insurance companies.

"This is something that now becomes a dollars and sense issue for the employers of our state," said Ray McCarty, president of Associated Industries of Missouri. "We agree what the federal government has done really amounts to extortion. Unfortunately, we're the ones who are going to have to pay if we don't do anything."

The federal Congressional Budget Office has projected that the Affordable Care Act would reduce the federal deficit — a fact that some witnesses noted was contrary to Barnes' analogy of borrowing a truckload of money from China to pay for it.

For the sake argument, House Minority Leader Jake Hummel embraced Barnes' analogy.

"The Brink's truck is leaving Washington and heading to other states," said Hummel, R-St. Louis. "I would like the Brink's truck to stop in this state and create jobs in this state, instead of just filling up their tank of gas."

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Associated Press writer Jordan Shapiro contributed to this report.

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