Senator Sifton requests explanation for 57,000 Missouri children losing state health coverage

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – State Senator Scott Sifton, D-Affton, sent a letter to Todd Richardson, the Director of the MO HealthNet Division to ask a series of questions in regards to the “dramatic number” of Missourians who have lost their Medicaid coverage over the past year.

MO HealthNet is the state agency which administers Missouri’s Medicaid program.

“The reasons given by the state for taking health care away from 57,000 children do not add up,” Sifton said in his letter on Monday. “It is unlikely that 17,000 people getting jobs would result in 71,000 people losing Medicaid coverage.”

The news release shared that in December 2018, 906,003 Missourians were enrolled in Medicaid. That amount is a decrease of more than 71,000 enrollees from the 977,531 Missourians who were enrolled in January 2018.

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri shared a report by Kaiser Health News that shared nearly 57,000 of the individuals who lost coverage were chidlren.

“In the past, Missouri has seen far greater drops in its unemployment rate without seeing tens of thousands of people, most of whom are children, losing their health care coverage,” Sifton said. “The state should provide answers to ensure that no one, no child, was cut from Medicaid simply because of red tape.”

The state of Missouri saw a drop of seven percent, compared to other states who experienced a less than two percent decrease, in the number of Medicaid participants, according to the news release.

Noting that Missouri’s unemployment rate does not appear to have affected the drop in health care coverage, Sifton shares that it raises some serious questions, which the state needs to answer.

“It is extremely difficult to believe economic factors alone accounted for the change in enrollment levels,” Sifton said.

Read Sifton’s full letter here.