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Parson sends Medicaid expansion to voters

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A long-debated measure to expand Medicaid in Missouri is headed to voters in August.

Gov. Mike Parson yesterday signed a proclamation sending the expansion proposal to the Aug. 4 primary election ballot, according to a news release from his office. The move follows Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft certifying a Medicaid expansion initiative petition last week.

“I want to be clear that this is about policy, not politics,” Parson said in the release. “At a time when our state is undergoing a major health, economic and budget crisis, we need to know exactly where we stand on what would be a massive spending initiative for Missouri.”

Healthcare for Missouri, an organization that's in favor of Medicaid expansion in the state, indicated in a May 22 news release that approval of the measure would bring $1 billion in federal tax dollars to Missouri annually.

Missouri is among 14 states that has not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act former President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010, according to data from The Commonwealth Fund as of April 9. In Nebraska, a ballot initiative to expand was approved but the state has not yet changed over.

Springfield Business Journal previously reported states that expanded Medicaid eligibility generally have lower uninsured rates than states that did not, according to a comparison of state uninsured rates.

Parson’s release yesterday cited research by The Pew Charitable Trusts showing Missouri as a top five state for general revenue spending on Medicaid. State officials estimate an additional $88 million in general revenue will be needed through fiscal 2021 due to COVID-19.

“Pass or fail, it is important that we understand the implications of Medicaid expansion as soon as possible,” Parson said in the release. “Placing the initiative on the August ballot will give us more time to prepare and account for the outcome in our state budget.”

In the 7th Congressional District that includes Springfield, 42,047 valid signatures were gathered in the initiative petition process, according to the secretary of state.

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Jeff Munzinger

Expanding Medicaid makes good economic sense. Other conservative states like Kentucky and neighboring Arkansas have done it. The benefit far outweighs the perceived cost. This is long overdue.

Thursday, May 28
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