Explaining My Vote on Medicaid Expansion
Recently, I voted to increase Medicaid funding to reflect the expansion approved by voters last August. I was in the minority of my caucus on that vote, as it failed. My reasoning for my vote was based on an underling belief that the General Assembly is responsible for writing our state’s budget.
Some argue this vote expands Medicaid – that is not correct. The people of Missouri expanded Medicaid last August when they went to the ballot box. As a result, on July 1 of this year, Medicaid will be available for adults making up to 138% of the federal poverty level, and newly eligible participants will have the opportunity to enroll in the program. The bills this will generate will be paid through the normal Medicaid reimbursement processes.
My vote to increase that funding was intended to fill in the gap created by expansion. We will now likely be forced to convene an extra session to consider additional funding in a supplemental budget request instead of fulfilling our constitutionally required role as appropriators for the state. If the Missouri government declines to sign up new enrollees on July 1, a lawsuit will likely be filed, and I’m advised a court will quickly rule qualified people must be enrolled. Ultimately, I believe the court battles and disruption to many of our hardest working low-income citizens will cost taxpayers more resources.
In my 10 years of being in the Legislature, I have consistently opposed Medicaid expansion. However, that question is now moot. We have expanded Medicaid, and funding this program is now a constitutional responsibility.
I am honored to serve the citizens of the 8th Senatorial District. If there is anything I can do to serve you, please feel free to contact my office in Jefferson City at (573) 751-1464. For information about my committee assignments or sponsored legislation for the 2021 session, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at senate.mo.gov/Cierpiot.