2020 has been shaping up to be a tough year for many of us. The coronavirus and social distancing guidelines and recommendations have kept us from seeing and being around our loved ones. The isolation has led to anxiety, and for some, even depression, but the unexpected changes have made us realize just how unprecedented this public health crisis truly is and how it’s touching every part of society.
During the height of COVID-19, thousands of Missourians lost their jobs or saw reduced hours. Many struggled to put food on the table and had a hard time trying to afford rent to avoid evictions, and with those heavy jobs cuts, came a loss in a basic human need: healthcare.
During the historic pandemic, it’s important that every human has access to affordable healthcare. One’s job status should never limit access to good health and medical treatment.
For years, the Missouri General Assembly has refused to expand the income eligibility guidelines for Medicaid. Right now, parents in a family of four must earn $5,550 or less per year to qualify for health insurance through Medicaid. A single adult does not qualify. This is wrong and unacceptable!
On August 4th, voters will head to the polls to cast a ballot for Amendment 2. Don’t hesitate, vote yes! It’s the right thing to do.
There are too many people in Missouri without health insurance. The numbers are worse when you categorize the uninsured by race. 9.6 percent of whites in Missouri have no health insurance, but that number more than doubles for minority groups. More than half (50.2 percent) of Blacks, close to 23 percent of Latinos and 16.5 percent of Asians are uninsured. Missouri has not closed the Medicaid coverage gap under the Affordable Care Act, so is less readily able to serve people who may be losing their health insurance through employment benefits.
You have the opportunity to take action to see that your neighbors are not uninsured on Tuesday. Business groups, religious organizations and medical professionals have all backed the measure to open up affordable healthcare for people with low-incomes.
The federal government is expected to pay 90% of the costs, with Missouri picking up the other 10%. Multiple studies, including one from Washington University, have shown that expanding Medicaid will greatly benefit Missouri. If Missouri expanded Medicaid, up to 300,000 people would be newly eligible for coverage. Medicaid expansion would also bring billions of hard-earned tax dollars back to our state and would save and create thousands of jobs.
According to research from the Missouri Foundation for Health, Missouri will actually save money by expanding Medicaid. The study states “On a yearly average, Missouri would see a $2.5 billion increase in economic output (averaging approximately $16,500 per Missouri business), a $1.6 billion increase in gross domestic product, and a $1.1 billion increase in personal income. The personal income increase averages to more than $500 per Missouri household every year.”
The Missouri General Assembly has let workers with low incomes down by refusing to hear their cries about the lack of affordable healthcare, year after year. On August 4th, we can take the power away from the General Assembly by passing Amendment 2 and ensuring that Missourians stay healthy and live longer lives.
To date, 38 states (including Washington D.C.) have adopted Medicaid Expansion. Missouri must be the 39th.
This is the moment to expand Medicaid eligibility. We can do something right now to make sure our families and neighbors will receive affordable healthcare. Voting YES on Amendment 2 will benefit all of us.