Why have so many Missouri children lost Medicaid coverage?

Timothy McBride, Bernard Becker Professor at the Brown School


One of the signature accomplishments in recent years has been the remarkable decline in the number of uninsured Americans to a historic low. This has occurred even in Missouri, a state that did not expand its Medicaid program, where the uninsured rate fell from 13% in 2013 to 9.1% in 2017.

But in the last 18 months, this progress has come under threat as the number of people enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program fell by more than 119,000 from January 2018 to June 2019, a drop of 12%. Most alarming, the number of children covered by Medicaid has dropped by almost 95,000 in Missouri, a 15% drop — the steepest decline in the nation among children.

What is causing it? State leaders point to an improving economy, presumably concluding that former Medicaid recipients are obtaining jobs and no longer eligible for Medicaid. While it is clear that the state has a strong economy with a very low 3.3% unemployment rate, nearly all the evidence points to other reasons for the enrollment decline, especially among children.

Read the full piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.