CHICAGO - Missouri hospitals reported providing $588 million in charity care and another $512 million in uncompensated care last year, the Missouri Hospital Association said in a report.
The figures came from the state's 122 hospitals.
"In 2013, hospitals provided more than half a billion dollars' worth of care to individuals in their communities who are without health insurance coverage," the association's chief executive officer Herb Kuhn said in a statement.
"Once again, this year's report signals the need for lawmakers to return taxpayers' money from Washington, D.C., to stabilize our state's health care infrastructure and increase access to health coverage," he added.
Missouri is among the states that has not taken advantage of the federal healthcare reform package's expansion of Medicaid. The report highlighted that four of eight states that border Missouri have approved an expansion of their Medicaid programs which is initially funded by the federal government under the Affordable Care Act.
"In states where expanded health coverage through Medicaid now exists, uncompensated care costs are falling," Kuhn said. "Hospitals in these states have an opportunity to spend resources currently allocated to indigent care on population health activities — efforts that improve the health of whole communities rather than individual patients."
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat wants to expand Medicaid but the GOP-dominated Legislature has resisted those efforts. Opponents fear that eventually the state will face a higher tab.