Hundreds rally across Missouri against Gov. Parson’s refusal to expand Medicaid

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hundreds rallied across the state Friday against Gov. Mike Parson’s decision on Medicaid.

On Thursday, despite voter approval last year, the governor announced there was no funding for the expansion and Missouri was withdrawing its application.

Dozens gathered in front of Trinity United Methodist Church on Friday, saying Medicaid is their constitutional right. They said they’re going to fight for the healthcare they need.

“What do we want? Medicaid! When do we want it? Now!” they chanted.

Their voices were clear, and so is their demand.

“We represent the will of the people. Not the legislature of Missouri,” said Rev. Dr. Tex Sample with Trinity United.

For them, Medicaid expansion can’t come soon enough, and it may take much longer than voters expected.

Terrance Wise works at McDonalds. He has three daughters and hasn’t seen a doctor since he was 18 years old.

“What do you do if you get sick or hurt? I hope and pray, and for the last 20 years that’s all I’ve been able to do when it comes to my health. Hope and pray,” Wise said.

Last August, voters approved the expansion that would allow anyone earning less than $18,000 per year to be eligible for Medicaid.

“Once the legislators didn’t fund it, I don’t think there were a lot of choices left,” Parson said Thursday.

Voters say despite the lack of funding, Parson needs to find the money to give voters what they want.

“The time will come in America, not because I’m saying it, because we are saying it, because God is on our side. That we are too rich, we are too wealthy of a nation not to provide access to basic and quality healthcare for every person. Black and white. Red and yellow. Rich and poor,” Rev. Vernon Howard with St. Mark Church said.

Parson said the issue will have to go to the court system, and supporters said they’re looking forward to it.

“We will not go away. We will not be silent. We will not back down, and we will continue to fight for what is right,” Howard said.

It’s still unclear who will bring a lawsuit forward to move Medicaid expansion into the court system and when. Medicaid was set to be expanded in July, and organizers said even with the speed bump, people should apply anyway.

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