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Letter: Medicaid expansion would be a lifeline to the working poor

Letter: Medicaid expansion would be a lifeline to the working poor

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Shonta Morgan, Medicaid expansion in Missouri

Shonta Morgan gives herself an insulin injection on the front porch of her mother's home in Jennings on Thursday, July 24, 2020. Morgan was covered by Medicaid in 2016 when she had pancreatic cancer, her pancreas, part of her stomach and gallbladder were removed during her treatment. The medications she now needs to stay healthy, including insulin, cost about $837 a month. Morgan lost coverage in 2018 when her daughter aged out of the program. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

Regarding “Battle over Medicaid expansion in Missouri pits uninsured against concerns about cost” (July 27): Imagine supporting a family of four on $34,846 a year or about $2,900 per month. Perhaps this is even a two-income family with low-wage jobs that don’t have employer-provided health insurance.

Although such a family earns too much to qualify for Medicaid, by the time rent, utilities, food, clothing and transportation expenses are deducted, there is no money for health insurance. Such a family cares just as much about their children’s health as the rest of us care about ours. Approximately 230,000 of our Missouri neighbors fall into this Medicaid gap, earning too much to qualify for Medicaid yet too little to purchase health insurance.

Expanding Medicaid is right for Missouri for so many reasons. It would create an estimated 16,000 jobs a year and help keep our rural hospitals open and functioning. Millions of our federal tax dollars would flow back into Missouri. Even the Missouri Chamber of Commerce recognizes the economic benefit to the state and supports Amendment 2. What really keeps me up at night, though, are those 230,000 Missourians with no health insurance. You might know some of them. They likely work at your grocery store or favorite fast food restaurant. They care for our elderly in nursing homes and our children at day care. On Aug. 4, I plan to vote “yes” on Amendment 2.

Cheryl Hibbeler • O’Fallon, Mo.

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