WASHINGTON — An attempt to restrict access to birth control in Missouri has jeopardized $4.5 billion in federal funding and tax revenue for the state’s Medicaid program. State Republicans tried to ban coverage for common methods of contraception, threatening access for thousands of residents in the state. The GOP’s fight against reproductive health care imperils the state’s entire Medicaid program — not to mention the whole state budget — and comes not long after lawmakers refused to fund Medicaid expansion, which was approved by voters in a constitutional amendment last year.
“Missouri Republicans have repeatedly shown that they will give up money for affordable health care in order to pursue their radical, right-wing agenda,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Jessica Post. “They’ll even defy the express wish of voters in an undemocratic abuse of power rather than extend affordable coverage. Every American deserves access to affordable birth control, but extremist Republicans will stop at nothing to stand in the way, even if it costs their constituents their health insurance and the state loses out on billions of dollars in funding.”
Republicans’ anti-contraception crusade could result in staggering cuts to the state’s Medicaid program, sharply reducing access to affordable health care and imperiling struggling rural hospitals. According to one state official, “the existence of the program will be threatened by the end of the year.” The GOP’s opposition to Medicaid expansion has already resulted in a lawsuit to force lawmakers to pass the necessary funding.
In addition to Missouri, twelve Republican-led states continue to hold out against Medicaid expansion, forfeiting billions in federal spending and over one million jobs nationwide.