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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri voters will get to decide on whether or not to expand Medicaid health care coverage across the state on August 4.

A handful of emergency medical services from different counties gathered in Jefferson City on Tuesday in support of the expansion.

Supporters during the event said since 2014, 14 rural hospitals in Missouri have closed their doors due to the lack of Medicaid forcing people to drive farther to receive aid and making it harder on paramedics.

This amendment would provide health care to Missourians who earn less than $18,000 a year.

Currently, Missouri’s Medicaid program does not cover most adults without children, and its income eligibility threshold for parents is one of the lowest in the nation.

The ballot proposal would expand eligibility under the terms of the 2010 federal health care law signed by President Barack Obama.

That law provides a higher-than-usual federal funding share for states that expand Medicaid coverage to adults earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level, about $18,000 for an individual.

Washington County’s Chief of Emergency Medical Services Justin Duncan said more lives could be saved if some patients could have regular access to health care.

“If the countless patients that we see when they are finally in crisis would have insurance, would they see a primary physician on the regular?” Duncan said. “Would they do their follow-up care with a specialist? Would they get their routine blood draws and manage their conditions before they fall into crisis?”

If Missourians approve Constitutional Amendment 2 in August, Missouri would be the 37th state to expand Medicaid.

These EMS groups endorsed the amendment:

  • Ambulance District Association of Missouri (ADAM)
  • Adair County Ambulance District
  • Christian Hospital Ambulance
  • City of St. Louis
  • Cox Hospital of EMS
  • Freeman Hospital Ambulance
  • Lincoln County Ambulance District
  • Mid-America Regional Council – Emergency Rescue (MARCER)
  • Mid-Missouri EMS Administrators Coalition
  • Missouri Ambulance Association (MAA)
  • Missouri EMS Association (MEMSA)
  • Missouri State Council of Firefighters
  • Marthasville Community Ambulance District
  • Mercy Hospital Ambulance
  • NTA Ambulance District
  • Oregon County Ambulance District
  • Ripley County Ambulance District
  • South Howell County Ambulance District
  • South Scott Country Ambulance District
  • St. Francois County Ambulance District
  • St. James Ambulance District
  • Washington County Ambulance District