Defunding Medicaid Expansion: This Isn’t a Game.

Updated on March 29, 2021: Missouri House Democrats held a press conference today in the State Capitol. They emphasized that 90% of Medicaid funding comes from the federal government, which includes $1.4 billion in annual matching funds. In addition, the state is scheduled to receive additional money through the American Rescue Plan.

Missouri Republican lawmakers need to stop pulling stunts to garner publicity for their next campaign and start listening to the will of the people.

Amendment 2 passed in the State of Missouri in the August 2020 election, 53% to 46%. This constitutional amendment would expand Medicaid services to more than 230,000 Missourians. These are not the wealthy; they are not the middle class. Those who would benefit from Medicaid Expansion are the poorest of our state residents. 

According to the Missouri Foundation for Health, parents in a family of four must earn less than $5,550 per year to qualify for Medicaid. With expansion, that same family of four could earn up to $18,000 per year and still receive the healthcare they need.

And yet, in the current legislative session, Republicans want to ignore the will of the people. The House Budget Committee on March 25 voted 20-9 to reject funding for Medicaid expansion. In other words, they voted to ignore the Missouri constitution. 

According to Democratic Rep. LaDonna Appelbaum (HD 071), an additional 275,000 Missourians will become constitutionally eligible for Medicaid with the start of the new fiscal year on July 1. In January, Republican Gov. Mike Parson included funding for expansion in his proposed budget for the upcoming 2022 fiscal year.

Medicaid Expansion is slated to begin on July 1. If you have children who need health insurance through Medicaid, parents can apply for them before that date (per a tweet from Rep. Sarah Unsicker (HD 91).

Missourians Will Suffer

If Medicaid Expansion isn’t funded as required, Missourians will suffer. These are our friends, our neighbors, and even family members. Here are a few comments from Franklin Countians: 

  • Our hospitals pay the disproportionate cost of the uninsured. I know of people who wouldn’t seek care due to cost and are no longer walking amongst us. And don’t all humans deserve medical care?
  • Medicaid benefits everyone, even those who don’t need it, but the state of Missouri doesn’t consider me a human being after losing the ability to be an incubator as a result of uterine cancer.
  • The need for insurance to pay for life saving medicine, drives people to file for disability .
  • Adults with mental Illness or ongoing medical conditions that can’t get employer provided insurance will suffer without Medicaid Expansion. 
  • I qualify for Medicaid but can’t get it.
  • It affects us all. Once again state lawmakers deny the will of the people. They didn’t fund a constitutional mandate.

Taking Action: What We Can Do

We can’t allow Missourians to become pawns in a political game. There’s a slim chance funding will be restored in the House during the week of March 29 but if it isn’t it will be up to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Here’s who we need to reach out to: 

  • Share this information with others on social media. If Missourians aren’t aware, they can’t make their voices heard. 
  • Call into Diane Jones’ weekdays morning show on KLPW: (636) 584-8255
    • “Off the Cuff” at 6:45 a.m.
    • Regular Morning Show from 7:45 to 10:00 a.m.
  • Call our elected officials and share your opinions with them: 
    • Governor Mike Parson: (573) 751-3222
    • Senator Dave Schatz (SD 26): (573) 751-3678
    • Representative Dottie Bailey (HD 110): 573-751-0562 
    • Representative Aaron Griesheimer (HD 061): 573-751-6668
    • Representative John Simmons (HD 109): 573-751-3776
    • Representative Nate Tate (HD 119): 573-751-0549
  • Call the Senate Appropriations Committee: 
    • Sen. Lauren Arthur (SD 17): 573-751-5282
    • Sen. Justin Brown (SD 16): 573-751-5713
    • Sen. Mike Cierpiot (SD 8): 573-751-1464
    • Sen. Sandy Crawford (SD 28): 573-751-8793
    • Sen. Bill Eigel (SD 23): 573-751-1141
    • Sen. Karla Eslinger (SD 33): 573-751-1882
    • Sen. Dan Hegeman (SD 12): 573-751-1415
    • Sen. Denny Hoskins (SD 21): 573-751-4302
    • Sen. Lincoln Hough (SD 30): 573-751-1311
    • Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer (SD 34): 573-751-2183
    • Sen. Karla May (SD 4): 573-751-3599
    • Sen. Jeanie Riddle (SD 10): 573-751-2757
    • Sen. Barbara Washington (SD 9): 573-751-3158
    • Sen. Brian Williams (SD 14): 573-751-4106

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The Franklin County Democratic Central Committee meets the last Monday of each month. Due to COVID, meetings are currently being held via Zoom. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Photo Credit: National Cancer Institute on Unsplash