CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder said Missouri cannot afford to expand Medicaid.
In a letter to Republican governors Friday, President Obama's administration said there is no deadline for states to decide whether to expand Medicaid for low-income people. The Supreme Court gave states the option of accepting or rejecting the expansion of Medicaid. States can receive federal funding to explore their options without having to pay back the money if they later decline.
Starting in 2014, the Medicaid program is designed to cover about 15 million low-income people across the country.
Kinder has disagreed with President Obama's healthcare overhaul since the beginning.
Kinder said Missouri cannot afford to expand Medicaid. He said currently, there are 1 million Missourians on Medicaid, and if voters choose to expand the program, it will add about 700,000 more people.
Kinder said he thinks states should resist the "federal bribe" to expand Medicaid, because he said it will only increase taxes for Missourians.
He said a Medicaid expansion, would bring cuts to education.
"Every state is straining to pay for Medicaid now, it is crowding out funding for higher education, it's the reason tuitions are going up for higher education, at Southeast, and the University of Missouri, and all of our other institutions, and it is the reason why we're not fully funding K through 12," said Kinder.
"Somebody else is going to lose help that they need then we're getting into that question of valuing services, you know what's more important, healthcare, or childcare when I go for a job interview," said Southeast Missouri Assistant Professor of Political Science Dr. Will Miller.
"Anyone who says we should sign up for this Medicaid expansion, is arguing for a large tax increase on hard working Missourians and for cuts in education funding," said Kinder.
Kinder said he thinks there needs to be a "common sense reform to healthcare that can cover more people at less cost, and put consumers of healthcare in the driver's seat." He said he thinks healthcare should be market oriented, and driven by the patients and doctors, not the government.