KCUR News
2:57 am
Mon March 30, 2009

New Study: '05 Medicaid Cuts Strained Missouri's Health Care System

Kansas City, MO – The 2005 cuts to Missouri's Medicaid program stressed hospitals, federally qualified health centers, and even individuals with insurance. That's according to a new report released by the Missouri Foundation for Health and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. KCUR's Elana Gordon has more.

The study analyzed data from hospitals, health centers, and the state's Medicaid program between 2003 and 2007. Ryan Barker oversaw the project and says the Medicaid cuts in 2005 contributed to a jump in charity care at hospitals across the state. He says hospitals made up for the added expense by charging more for services. Barker says that caused private insurance costs to go up and further strain the health care system as a whole.

BARKER: So we have employers that are starting to drop insurance; we have employees can't afford the insurance and so they drop their insurance. And a lot of those people become the working uninsured.

Barker also says hospitals and health centers turned to local taxes and grants to offset the impact of the cuts.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

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