Centene CEO: Missouri Medicaid decision an ’embarrassment’


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The CEO of Centene Corp. has called Missouri an “embarrassment” after Republican Gov. Mike Parson and the GOP-controlled Legislature failed to approve funding for voter-approved Medicaid expansion.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday that Centene chief Michael Neidorff made the comments to Health Payer Specialist, a health industry trade publication.

Neidorff says his company is the largest provider of Medicaid in the US and operates in a state that he says “frowns on this business.”

Centene announced last year it was expanding in North Carolina, rather than the St. Louis area, citing concerns about crime in St. Louis.

Centene sent FOX 2 the following statement:

“Centene is disappointed that the legislature did not honor Missouri voters’ wishes by fully funding Medicaid Expansion. We believe that now, more than ever, Americans must have access to high-quality healthcare as we navigate these uncertain times. We are committed to our employees, our members and the communities we serve here in our home state, and we believe that increasing access to healthcare is an important step forward for Missouri.”

Marcela Manjarrez Hawn, Senior Vice President, Chief Communications Officer

Gov. Parson issued a rebuttal late Wednesday afternoon:

“Although I was never in support of MO HealthNet expansion, I always said that I would uphold the ballot amendment if it passed. The majority of Missouri voters supported it, and we included funds for the expansion in our budget proposal. However, without a revenue source or funding authority from the General Assembly, we are unable to proceed with the expansion at this time and must withdraw our State Plan Amendments to ensure Missouri’s existing MO HealthNet program remains solvent.” 

“I have a good relationship with Mr. Neidorf and am grateful for Centene’s investments in Missouri. Centene is a strong, reputable company with great employees, and we are proud that they call Missouri home.”

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