Regarding “After House bars Parson from chamber, governor delivers annual address in Senate” (Jan. 28): Gov. Mike Parson sang a different tune regarding Medicaid expansion in his State of the State speech. Let us hope so for 230,000 low-income Missourians and the thousands who have lost work and their health insurance due to coronavirus layoffs. Children would also benefit as more parents will seek coverage.
For almost a decade, Parson and other Republicans opposed Medicaid expansion, but he has now promised to carry out the voters’ will after the approval of an August 2020 Missouri constitutional amendment. After spending a year on the campaign trail warning that expanding the health insurance plan for low-income Missouri residents would result in cuts to education and other state programs, the proposed budget contains none of those drastic measures.
Expansion comes with a 90% match from the federal government. In fact, states expanding Medicaid have been able to offset some of their program costs to become a revenue generator and a cost-saver for their budgets. A study by Washington University projects the same for Missouri.
Many of the same voters in Missouri who went to the polls for former President Donald Trump said they wanted Medicaid expansion — signaling that it’s not a partisan issue anymore. Now it’s up to the Missouri Legislature to put a program in place by July 1, during its 2021 session.