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Nixon Continues Medicaid Expansion Campaign Despite GOP Disinterest

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

Democratic Governor Jay Nixon hasn’t stopped advocating for Missouri to accept the federal government’s money for Medicaid expansion, in spite of state Republican lawmakers leaving it out of their proposed budget.

Nixon lobbied in St. Charles Wednesday for the state to accept $900 million to expand the program to over a quarter of a million low income adults.

Nixon has appealed throughout the state. What makes Nixon’s stop in St. Charles unique is that the area is typically conservative turf.

It’s demonstrative of Nixon’s larger challenge: convincing conservatives and a Republican supermajority in the state legislature that expanding Medicaid is a good idea.

And Nixon admits that it has been a challenge.

“The challenge we’ve had is to escape the binary choice we had in November: either you’re for it or against it, you know," Nixon said. "And to get in and to educate folks on what this means to our economy and our state.”

Nixon points out several Republican governors have accepted the money, including Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

“They’re doing this not because it’s the easy thing to do politically, but because it’s the smart thing to do economically," Nixon said. "Here in Missouri, we must make the smart business decision, the right human decision and bring back these dollars from Washington right back here to work in the Show-Me state.”

But that argument hasn't convinced Republican lawmakers. Just last week, the Missouri House’s top Republican budget writer Rick Stream presented a plan last week that did not include the federal government’s Medicaid money, saying it runs counter to the GOP philosophy of limiting government.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel