I attended the City Council meeting on Monday, Dec. 16, where the council passed a resolution 5-1 to support Medicaid expansion.
I just wanted to express my gratitude to City Council and Mayor Bob McDavid. While the economic incentives are certainly a strong argument, the humanitarian element cannot be ignored.
City Council members and those testifying in support of expansion shared touching stories of those who have found themselves homeless due to the expenses of medical care. The Family Health Center staff described the common occurrence of people who have to choose between seeking care and paying for medications or paying their rent.
The consequences of not having access to health care is severe and results in human suffering.
Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser was the only council member who did not support expansion. Nauser also did not think it was appropriate for the city to take up this issue.
The city of Columbia is not living in a vacuum. We will feel the impact. People who continue to go without insurance in our city will feel this, and their families will feel this as well. You cannot deny the impact it will have on the health of our community.
In addition, I think it’s safe to say Columbia would benefit from the thousands of new jobs and $856 million in new state and local taxes that will be generated. Mayor McDavid referenced these numbers from a 2012 report.
I hope those representing the Columbia area in Jefferson City are paying attention.
Ben Edes lives in Columbia.