Study: Medicaid Expansion Benefits Mental Health Care

Mar 5, 2013

The Missouri Department of Mental Health released a new study highlighting the benefits of expanding Medicaid in Missouri. With $1.8 billion in Medicaid funds on the line, this expansion could drastically change healthcare in Missouri.

Under this plan, approximately 300,000 uninsured Missourians will be covered. An estimated 50,000 of those will come in for mental issues.

Director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health Keith Schafer says this program is critical to Missourians.

“There are too many Missourians who have no health care coverage, and will not be able to get it from their employers; small employers who simply can’t afford to provide it,” Schafer said. “Those folks need that coverage, need that help.”

Schafer says expanded treatment of mental illness will benefit law enforcement.

“It will be phenomenally tempting, and almost necessary, for these hospitals to reduce their adult psychiatric inpatient care. And it will force, then, county sheriffs and other law enforcement people, to transport people much farther distances to try to get help for mental illness problems,” Schafer said.

The Medicaid expansion is being pushed by Governor Jay Nixon and other Democrats. Republicans who control the state legislature continue to oppose the plan.