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Missouri Medicaid expansion proposal survives lawsuits

June 3, 2020 GMT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri judge has dismissed two lawsuits against a ballot proposal to expand Medicaid health care eligibility to thousands more low-income adults.

The lawsuits by conservative advocacy group United for Missouri and Americans for Prosperity-Missouri sought to knock the proposal off the Aug. 4 ballot. Both groups claimed the proposal would expand the government health insurance program without coming up with a funding source to pay for that.

But Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green on Tuesday ruled that the ballot measure doesn’t require lawmakers to set aside state revenue for the expansion. That means the measure will stay on the ballot.

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Both critics of the proposal say they will appeal.

The campaign manager for Healthcare for Missouri, which is pushing for Medicaid eligibility expansion, lauded the judge’s decision and said passing the proposal will help keep rural hospitals open.

Democratic Auditor Nicole Galloway’s office estimated that expanding Medicaid health care eligibility will save the state about $1 billion.

Missouri’s Medicaid program currently does not cover most adults without children, and it’s income eligibility threshold for parents is one of the lowest in the nation at about one-fifth of the poverty level.

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