A Southwest Missouri lawmaker speaks out about what the future holds for Medicaid

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JOPLIN, MO – A Southwest Missouri lawmaker speaks out a day after a state supreme court ruling approving Medicaid expansion.

State representative Cody Smith says there’s still a lot to hammer out about what the future holds for Medicaid.

He says the supreme court decision could have a far reaching impact.

“The courts took our budget bills the legislation themselves and they interpreted parts of those that saying, we did not expressly prohibit Medicaid expansion in those budget bills, so there’s money for Medicaid and that must be spent on the expansion population, alongside the pre pre expansion population. So we certainly disagree with that part of their decision.” Says MO Rep. Cody Smith, R.

The justices also sent the case back to a lower court to determine what should happen next.

State representative Smith of Carthage is the house budget chair and says if that’s finding $200,000,000, or more, to fund Medicaid expansion, that would lead to cuts to others funded by the state.

“So as legislators we would be forced to find that money somewhere else in the budget, have to take it from places like education, things like the mandatory Medicaid program, folks that are on Medicaid now, the aged, the blind, disabled folks.” Says Smith.

That impact is still unclear, depending on the next move in court and potential funding discussions in Jefferson City.

“The governor maintains that he does not have the appropriation authority. I assume that that he will not act until he does have that appropriation authority and that would require another convening of the General Assembly to get together and and legislate or appropriate for Medicaid expansion and that’s yet to be determined.” Says Smith.

It all stems from the Thursday ruling from the state supreme court that the Medicaid expansion amendment is legal.

Smith says estimates say about 250 to 265 thousand patients would be added to Medicaid at a cost of $2,000,000,000.

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