To the Editor:
The people of Gasconade County are generally kind, caring people who help our neighbors.
There are fund raisers whenever someone’s house burns down, or a fellow resident has a bad health problem. Our churches are well attended, our food pantry has many volunteers. Many of us ring the bell for Salvation Army Funds at Christmas time, pick up trash along our roads, plant trees in our parks, and are active volunteers in local organizations such as the Lions Clubs.
Well, on August 4th we can all come together to help our fellow Missourians by voting Yes on Amendment 2.
This is an amendment to expand healthcare to cover more Missourians.
Currently in Missouri over half a million adults ages 18-64 are uninsured. Of them 85 percent have jobs that do not offer health insurance. That number has only gone up with the recent layoffs due to the Covid virus.
As of now Missouri Medicaid only covers children, pregnant women, those with disabilities, some seniors and parents who earn less than $3,626 per year. Most women lose their Medicaid after giving birth and single adults without children are not eligible for Medicaid.
That leaves a huge gap in coverage.
This expansion would help those nearing retirement who have had their insurance cancelled because of chronic medical conditions. If passed, all Missourians would be eligible if they earn less then $18,000 per year for an individual or up to $30,000 for a family of three. This would provide healthcare for more than 230,000 Missouri residents including over 50,000 parents and 18,000 near retirees.
Thirty-seven states (just last month Oklahoma passed an amendment like this one) already have done this and are reaping the benefits from it. States which have expanded Medicaid have seen mortality rates go down because more people can get medical care before illnesses result in hospitalization and possible death.
These states are also benefitting financially…currently we are subsidizing their Medicaid with our federal taxes. If we expand Medicare we get a huge influx of Federal Funds.
The state itself only pays 10 percent and studies in states which have already expanded Medicaid show that this is soon offset by moving people into a healthcare system instead of increasing taxes to pay for the uninsured. Plus the expansion in other states has created jobs and kept rural hospitals open.
Over the past six years at least 10 rural Missouri hospitals have closed which makes it more difficult for rural residents to receive healthcare. Medicaid expansion brings an estimated $1 billion of federal funds back to Missouri. By bringing our money home, we can deliver healthcare to our fellow citizens who are uninsured and can protect rural healthcare.
The list of organizations endorsing Medicaid expansion is too long to show here. It includes, AARP, AFL-CIO, American Heart Association plus their counterparts in cancer, diabetes, kidney, lung.
Every major medical group has endorsed expansion including Mercy, Cox, BJC, SSM, Missouri Nurses Association, Mo. Hospital Association, Family Health Council, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and many more.
For more information go to: https://www.yeson2.org/learn-more. Google “financial benefits for Medicaid Expansion” for many articles explaining how that works in detail.
It is a win/win! Please vote YES for Amendment 2 on August 4th!