LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Missouri should consider Medicaid expansion

Friday, September 27, 2013 | 12:00 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA—As Oct. 1 nears, bringing with it the opportunity for uninsured Missourians to buy an affordable health care plan in the marketplace, it’s hard to ignore the harsh consequences for others who will be left out since the Missouri legislature did not expand Medicaid in 2013.

On Oct. 1, individuals and families who are considered to be between 100 and 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) will be issued discounts or advanced tax credits by the federal government to help them afford these plans.

Sadly, there will be no financial assistance for Missourians who fall below 100 of the FPL. According to the research done by the Missouri Budget Project, this will leave out about 267,000 uninsured Missourians who would have been covered under Medicaid expansion.

Who are these Missourians? They are your neighbors. They are members of your church. They are the homeless. They are veterans. They are the working poor. They live in both rural and urban settings. And each day they are uninsured, they risk filing bankruptcy if they get sick. Each day they are uninsured, they miss out on preventive healthcare to diagnosis and manage disease. This is a quality of life issue, not a political issue. If the Missouri legislature does not expand Medicaid, hundreds of thousands of Missourians will suffer because of your distaste for the name Obama. Your political games are playing with people’s lives. I would encourage Missourians to contact their representatives and tell them why you support Medicaid expansion in Missouri.

Katie Youmans is an MU student.

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