White House report shows benefits of Medicaid expansion

States have 'wide discretion' to cut Medicaid payments to providers, White House says
States have 'wide discretion' to cut Medicaid payments to providers, White House says

States that pass on expanding Medicaid could be missing out on billions of dollars in federal money and additional health-related benefits, according to a new report from the White House.

The report focuses on financial and health benefits specific to Missouri, as part of a series of studies aimed at encouraging states to expand Medicaid programs. Many conservative states have opted out of using mostly federal dollars to add more people to Medicaid, citing a wish to reform the existing program before expanding, and worries about the long-term costs.

The White House report found that 191,000 uninsured Missouri residents could gain coverage if Medicaid were expanded by 2016. If Missouri resists the expansion, however, the state would waive an estimated $1.37 billion in federal money, the report noted.

If Missouri expands Medicaid, thousands more residents would be able to receive mammograms and cholesterol screenings next year, according to report authors. They also note that fewer residents would suffer from depression, and 25,000 more would consider themselves in “good or excellent” health.

Medicaid supporters say that while the benefits are clear, they don't expect the new report to sway the opinions of Missouri legislators, who chose not to include a Medicaid expansion in their annual budget plan.