On August 4, Missouri voters will consider the Amendment 2 initiative to expand Missouri’s Medicaid program to provide healthcare coverage to adults between the ages of 19 and 64.
While I have been skeptical of Missouri’s ballot initiative process, I take notice that nearly 350,000 Missourians signed the petition. In Missouri, 15 hospitals have closed in the last six years. These facts, and the wide-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, calls for change in a changed world. There are reasons a conservative like me would support an expanded Medicaid program.
First, ninety percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion is covered by bringing back Missouri tax dollars from Washington, DC – money that is not currently benefiting our state. These new funds will do more than just cover the currently uninsured who become newly eligible, they will also be used to offset hundreds of millions of dollars in Missouri’s existing Medicaid budget and other state healthcare spending.
Second, the infusion of new federal funds creates jobs. Jobs-not just in the healthcare sector, but the associated supply chains that support healthcare. Medicaid expansion in Missouri is expected to create 16,330 new jobs per year – 79% of which would be in industries other than healthcare.
Third, this helps people who work! More than 71% of Medicaid expansion enrollees work. Having coverage makes it easier to keep working and keep a job. An in-depth study of Ohio’s Medicaid expansion found that 83% of working enrollees reported it was easier to work and that they missed fewer days of work due to illness. Health coverage also means Missourians have less medical debt, fewer bankruptcies and evictions, and more income to be spent on services in our economy.
For these reasons, I support Amendment 2 and ask that you do too.
Missouri State Representative, 2005-2011
Mayor of St. Charles, 2011-2019