Virtually every hospital receives some level of funding through (the federal program), Dillon said. Were looking at a situation where they will lose a huge amount of money but still have to provide services to the uninsured.
That scenario would make it difficult for some hospitals to break even, Dillon said, and you have to be able to break even to at least keep the doors open.
The situation is similar in Kansas. A report issued by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation said Medicaid expansion would cost the state $166 million and bring in an additional $3.5 billion over the first six years.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, has not said whether he believes Kansas should participate, but he is a longtime and vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act. Earlier this month Brownback announced that the state would not join with the federal government to establish a health insurance exchange another feature of the federal health care overhaul.
Kansas Republicans have publicly voiced concern about expanding Medicaid. Many Democrats have also concluded it could be a mistake, arguing that Kansas cant afford any additional spending after massive income tax cuts enacted earlier this year.
In Missouri, state House Speaker Tim Jones said earlier this month that there is little chance lawmakers will seriously consider Medicaid expansion.
The state simply cant afford it, said Jones, a Eureka Republican. We have enough trouble paying for (Medicaid) as it is. Im not sure how we can pay for more welfare expansion.
Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, has remained noncommittal about the issue, saying hell reveal his decision when he releases his budget plan in January. His budget director, Linda Luebbering, said the process of laying out that budget has only just started.
Missouri cant afford not to expand Medicaid, Dillon argued, and ultimately getting more people insured will save the state money in the long term.
People with insurance tend to take care of themselves, he said. They are more likely to get care from their primary physician instead of emergency rooms. And if you look at the cost of health insurance, a reasonable portion is cost incurred by the insured to pay for the uninsured. We call it the hidden health care tax.
Additionally, the expansion would bring billions of new health care dollars into the state, Dillon said, which would have a direct impact on local economies.
If you look at the states economy through the recession, he said, the health care industry has been one of the most stable sectors.
He pointed to recent reports showing health care spending has fueled construction in the Kansas City area, with $1.25 billion invested since 2009 in construction spending.
For Rep. John Rizzo, a Kansas City Democrat, the math is simple: Hospitals around the state will close if lawmakers fail to expand Medicaid. And with super majorities in both legislative chambers, Rizzo said the blame will fall solely on Republicans.
If rural Missouri has hospitals shut down, thats the Republican Partys fault, Rizzo said. They have to look their people in the eye and admit that they did this.
Silvey dismissed such dour predictions.
Missouri doesnt exist in a vacuum, he said. Youre probably going to see 30 states say they wont expand Medicaid, and the most likely scenario is the federal government will have to revisit the entire plan. Theyll have to go back to the drawing board and come up with something that works.
Dillon said hes confident lawmakers will move forward with expansion once they begin to hear from hospitals in their districts.
The election is over, and were going to have to deal with the fact that the Affordable Care Act is still in place, he said. Its hard to say exactly where this debate is going, but the economics of it make sense.