April 12, 2005 – The bill passed by the Republican-dominated House and Senate would cut Medicaid funding by more than 250 million dollars and cause more than 100 thousand Missourians to lose their health care insurance. The changes lower eligibility levels for parents from 75% of the poverty level to 30%, or $400 a month for a family of three. Advocates estimate some 60 thousand parents would lose medicaid coverage. If enacted, the cuts reduce Missouri's eligibility levels for working parents to 47th in the country, according one national agency.
The legislation also increases medicaid patient co-pays and reduces reimbursement rates to doctors. Health care providers say this will make it harder for the indigent to get access to health care, as the resources of public hospitals and community clinics are further stretched.
Providers are divided on their reaction to the legislation. While many see the cuts as a "hidden tax" society will pay for a population that meets the health care system later, and sicker, others say the medicaid system is fatally flawed and needs an overhaul.