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Nixon Pushes Medicaid Expansion Says It’ll Benefit Mentally Ill

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Photo: UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Photo: UPI/Bill Greenblatt

CBS St. Louis (con't)

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – Locked in a battle with Republican lawmakers over how far to expand Medicaid in Missouri, Democratic Governor Nixon swung through St. Louis to push his plan.

Nixon spoke at a psychiatric clinic, surrounded by the Mayor of St. Louis, and Police chiefs from St. Louis city and county — arguing that his plan would help identify mentally disturbed people and get them preventative treatment.

“Friends, this is a situation in which standing still doesn’t leave you in the same place you started,” Nixon said, “It means slipping far behind.”

The Nixon plan would bring some $6 billion in additional federal health care money to Missouri to cover an extra 300,000 people over the next three years. It’s estimated 50,000 more mental health patients would receive treatment, taking pressure off police.

“Right now, they go from the emergency room to jail, back and forth in a vicious cycle,” Nixon said.

Republican State Representative Jay Barnes is pushing a rival, lest costly plan that would expand Medicaid eligibility for another 180,000 Missourians. The GOP has expressed wariness of committing to a federal program that’s free for now, but could end up costing taxpayers later when the burden shifts to the state.

Nixon says the GOP plan doesn’t go far enough and fails to meet the federal requirement under Obamacare of expanding eligibility to 138 percent of the poverty level, or about $32,000 for a family of four.

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