Protecting our economy by protecting Medicaid expansion

Missouri state capitol building dome in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Medicaid expansion hangs by a thread and the Missouri Senate is the last line of defense in protecting health care for working families. 

Two years ago, Missouri voters went to the polls and overwhelming passed a constitutional amendment to expand Medicaid coverage to people who were earning a paycheck but unable to afford private health insurance. The following January, every single lawmaker swore an oath to protect and uphold Missouri’s Constitution – including its new amendment expanding Medicaid. Almost as quickly, a majority of lawmakers violated that oath by refusing to fund Missouri’s Medicaid program. People sued, the case went to court, and the anti-Medicaid group lost. But they did not give up.

The threat to Medicaid expansion is real, it is immediate, and it demands our full attention.  

This year, the anti-Medicaid crowd tried a new approach. House Joint Resolution 117 would have paved the way for the General Assembly to underfund Medicaid each year and repeal the new coverage guarantees in our constitution. It passed the Missouri House of Representatives 95 to 45. Thankfully, it was blocked in the Senate and did not come to the floor for debate. 

But as a State Senator, I can assure you – if House Joint Resolution 117 had come to the floor of the Missouri Senate, the majority party would easily have the votes to pass it. I have seen no indication that the anti-Medicaid crowd has learned from their multiple losses. I believe they will be back next year, and we must be ready. The threat to Medicaid expansion is real, it is immediate, and it demands our full attention.  

Repealing or sabotaging Medicaid expansion would be a significant blow to Kansas City’s economy and send an anti-business message to every industry in Missouri.  

Would you bring a new business to a state knowing the legislature could easily reverse course on its commitments? Would you expand your workforce in a state knowing these workers may have their health care taken away by lawmakers? Would you invest money in a state knowing its bond ratings could be jeopardized by the Legislature each year? 

Repealing or sabotaging Medicaid expansion would be a significant blow to Kansas City’s economy and send an anti-business message to every industry in Missouri.  

The constant attacks on Missouri’s safety net health care system are creating economic uncertainty. Efforts like House Joint Resolution 117 would allow the Legislature to move the goal posts every single year, inviting chaos to our health care industry and entire economy. It would be a mess. It would make Missouri less healthy, less safe, and less prosperous. 

As a State Senator who believes working people should have health care, I am asking you to stay involved and press on. We have come too far to surrender now. We won at the ballot box. We prevailed in court. And we held the line in the Missouri Senate. But the battle continues.

We must tell lawmakers enough is enough — it’s time to protect our economy by protecting Medicaid expansion.


CATEGORIES
Policy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Health Forward Foundation
2300 Main Street, Suite 304
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 241-7006