Medicaid Expansion Protecting Missouri’s Families Is Right

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Protecting Missouri’s Families Is Right

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The Missouri Legislature should protect Missouri’s families by focusing on expanding Medicaid to improve both our state’s physical health and our state’s economic health.

I will fight to make sure our healthcare system is inclusive and accessible to all Missourians. The best path forward for Missouri is through the Medicaid program.

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Medicaid expansion will improve Missouri’s economy and improve the health of our fellow citizens.

Expanding Medicaid will protect Missouri’s families by energizing Missouri’s economy with the injection of $2.3 billion/year in federal funds. That money will be spread among all 114 counties. It will increase income for all types of health care service providers, including hospitals and their employees, doctors and nurses, and medical suppliers. Health care providers and businesses will spend large portions of their revenues and salaries in the local economies. As a result, thousands of jobs will be created on top of the ones saved by expanding Medicaid. Missouri hospitals, especially rural hospitals, are closing (two so far costing 1,800 jobs) without expansion.

The University of Missouri concluded that Missouri would add 24,000 jobs in the first year.

Being able to see a doctor is a right, not a privilege. Right now there is a health insurance coverage gap where some Missourians making just over a couple hundred dollars a month do not qualify for the current system, yet their dire financial situation means they cannot afford private insurance.

Expanding Medicaid will protect Missouri’s families by allowing 300,000 Missourians, the working poor, access to health insurance; it will save 700 people who die each year. With health insurance, our working families and people with mental illness, rural Missourians, students, people with disabilities, and children will be able to stay healthy, keep working and lift themselves into better economic circumstances.

While growing up, my family of two parents and four other siblings had no health insurance. I understand how worrisome and stressful this can be.

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Ashley, 27 of St. Charles County, is currently studying to pursue her dream of becoming a pastry chef. She has been looking for a part-time job that fits with her class schedule. She knows she likely will not qualify for health insurance benefits as a part-time worker. Without a job and with no children of her own, Ashley makes too little to qualify for subsidies to buy insurance through the marketplace and too much money to qualify for Medicaid. Ashley worries a lot about her health and is very concerned about her uninsured status because cancer runs in her family. Her mother was diagnosed with cancer at age 27, and her father was diagnosed with lymphoma at 44. This places greater importance on preventive screenings to maintain Ashley’s health and easy her anxiety. Without health insurance, she worries that she will not be able to access or afford potentially life-saving preventive services and screenings in time. – See more at: http://missourihealthcareforall.org/health-stories/#sthash.WInz8Sym.dpuf

Over 30 states have already expanded Medicaid, but Missouri legislators, my opponent included, have refused to consider this issue.

Investing in these families is the best way to help our economy and its health.

Expanding with federal dollars will allow Missouri to focus on important priorities like education and public safety.

Protect Missouri’s families. Expand Medicaid. It’s the right thing to do, and the smart thing to do.