City Council Expresses Support for Medicaid Expansion in Missouri

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COLUMBIA- The City Council voted 5 to 1 Monday night to approve a resolution expressing support for Medicaid expansion in Missouri.

The resolution is aimed to show support for the Medicaid expansion to cover all adults and children up to 138% of the federal poverty level in Missouri. The goal is ensure more individuals have access to appropriate levels of healthcare services in the most effective cost settings, according to the document from the City of Columbia website. 

A group of about 15 Columbia residents joined the meeting to show their support for Medicaid expansion, each of them wearing a sticker saying "FULL MEDICAID EXPANSION NOW!".

Brian Smith with the Missouri Rural Crisis Center said the decision would send a strong message to the entire state that the Medicaid expansion is something Missouri needs to take part in.

"One of the reasons we are coming here is we want to make the point about how different communities throughout Missouri, how Medicaid expansion is so important to them. Here is Columbia with a great hospital system, it's extremely important for both financial reasons and and also just getting more people to to cover and access to affordable and adequate healthcare," Smith said.

Fifth ward council member Laura Nauser opposed the resolution. She said the council shouldn't start a trend in getting involved in state and federal's political issues. 

"We have so many things in our plate already," Nauser said. 

Mayor Bob McDavid said during the city council meeting he would write a letter to local legislators about the city council's support of Medicaid expansion. 

The legislative session begins next month. House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said expanding Medicaid would not be a priority. He and other republicans in both the House and Senate have said Medicaid needs to be reformed before it can be expanded, despite a push from Gov. Jay Nixon.