Missourians need Medicaid expansion as seen in The Joplin Globe

July 26th, 2020

Right now, where you live determines how long you’ll live. As a critical care nurse, I see it every day. Looking at outcomes by ZIP code, we see huge disparities in uninsured, chronic illness and, most heartbreaking, infant and child mortality. Fortunately, we can expand Medicaid, which would offer insurance to hundreds of thousands of Missourians, improve access and start addressing these disparities.

In rural counties across the state, there is a lack of health care resources. Many rely on just one clinic to serve the entire county. Medicaid payments keep these remaining rural hospitals and clinics open to see patients who have no other options. Without Medicaid, these clinics and hospitals could close, leaving rural, minority and impoverished communities without accessible health care.

Our failure to expand Medicaid leaves too many of our neighbors unable to get any health insurance. They make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, too little to afford insurance and don’t qualify for subsidies on the health care exchange. Expanding Medicaid would allow about 230,000 more people to qualify, saving our rural hospitals and clinics from the financial strain of giving uncompensated care.

Medicaid expansion helps keep rural hospitals and clinics open, protecting jobs where we need them most and providing care where we need it most. It is a critical step toward ensuring your ZIP code does not determine your lifespan. It is vital for my patients and our state.

On Aug. 4, I’ll care for my patients by voting “Yes” on Amendment 2. I hope you join me.

Samantha McAninch