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Columbia Missourian

Missouri governor resists plans to expand health insurance

By The Associated Press
November 24, 2009 | 11:00 a.m. CST

ST. LOUIS — Gov. Jay Nixon is resisting a plan that could provide health insurance to thousands of children despite running for office on a pledge to expand health care access.

A federal law urges states to check for low-income families using state services but not currently enrolled in Medicaid. The data would allow states to automatically enroll children eligible for Medicaid.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday that Nixon's office is troubled by the cost and doesn't plan to do that now. Officials estimate 27,500 children would gain coverage and that it would cost nearly $33 million annually.

But children advocates argue the state saves money by insuring children because it cuts down on hospital emergency room visits.