Nixon pushes Medicaid expansion in Hannibal

Gov. Nixon addresses the need for Medicaid expansion in Hannibal Monday.

A Missouri House committee voted down a Medicaid Expansion plan backed by Governor Jay Nixon Monday.

The committee said lawmakers should weed out inefficiencies in the Medicaid system, rather than adding on to it.

Nixon spoke to a crowd at Hannibal Regional Hospital Monday afternoon about

his plan

. He says it would bring $5.7 billion of taxpayer money back to the state, adding health coverage for more than 300,000 Missourians over the next 3 years.

Nixon says the federally funded program also would create 24,000 jobs in the state and ease the burden on emergency rooms.

Under the expansion, low-income families making less than $32,500 a year would be eligible for coverage.

Nixon invited a large number of law enforcement officers to attend his visit to Hannibal. He wanted to get across his message that mental health patients should not get their treatment through the criminal justice system.

Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Shinn told us anywhere from 7 to 10 of his 95 inmates are true mental health patients, people he says, who do not belong in jail, but rather in the hospital.