KC civic, business groups push for Medicaid expansion in Missouri

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A campaign to expand Medicaid in the Show-Me State is getting some support Tuesday from three of the city’s largest business and civic organizations.

Supporters claim expanding Medicaid will help Missouri grow.

The Chamber of Commerce, Civic Council and United Way all say Medicaid expansion would provide health coverage to more than 230,000 Missourians who work in jobs that don’t offer health insurance.

It would bring more than $1 billion in federal tax money to Missouri every year to pay for the program, boosting the state’s economy and helping to keep rural hospitals open.

Ten rural hospitals in Missouri have closed since 2014, the latest to shut its doors happened just a couple of weeks ago in Boonville, Missouri.

Supporters say they have already gathered more than three-quarters of the petition signatures required to put Medicaid expansion to a vote of the people in November.

“There are three Republican states: Indiana, Arkansas and Ohio who have recently taken on Medicaid expansion and shown tremendous results, said Bill Gautreaux, chair of the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City.

“This study also concludes that they did this as a result of a very well designed, well synchronized program that we can have in Missouri.”

The argument against Medicaid expansion has been that federal payments for 90 percent of the program eventually will be reduced or eliminated, leaving states to shoulder the costs of coverage their taxpayers can’t afford.

Supporters say that hasn’t happened in the 10 years the Affordable Care Act has been operating.

Some are comparing Medicaid to federal highway funding: states simply have to have it to keep their infrastructure in place.

Supporters have until early May to submit 172,000 signatures required to put the issue on the November ballot.

Gov. Mike Parson has said that if voters approve, the state will implement an expansion of Medicaid.

To sign the petition to seek a vote on expanding Medicaid, visit this site.

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