“Left-wing activists” for Medicaid expansion: You know who you are.

You’re the 62% of Missouri voters who voted for the Clean Missouri amendment Nov. 6, 2018.

You’re the 67.5% who voted to veto the state legislature’s “right to work” law Aug. 7, 2018.

Steve Spellman doesn’t like “left-leaning advocates” and “left-wing activists” like you (Missourian, July 23).

You don’t sufficiently respect the “legislative process (that) is the strength of our political system,” or the “subject-matter specialists” (industry lobbyists, right-wing ideologues) who bring (certain) ideas to the table.

Your current offense is that you believe Missouri individuals or families earning less than 138% of the federal poverty level ought to be eligible for Medicaid, ensuring access to health care despite their poverty.

Sure, minimal social justice is on your side. Sure, the federal government would pay 90% of the costs, injecting 1.5 billion federal dollars into the state economy every year.

Sure, the state’s 10% cost share would be offset by increased state tax revenue in combination with elimination of state outlays for the woefully inadequate but extremely expensive health care that uninsured families now receive on an emergency basis.

But Spellman implores you to take into consideration key drawbacks of Medicaid expansion.

For one thing, you’re forgetting federal funding may disappear — an outcome that libertarian fundamentalists and Affordable Care Act-hating Republicans will work diligently to ensure if we let them.

For another thing, Medicaid expansion would steer low-income people into a “bureaucratic and impersonal … socialized medicine program” that leaves patients with “limited choices” — most obviously, the choice of receiving essential health care they currently can’t afford.

So, either you “care about these counterpoints or (you) don’t.”

If you don’t — if minimal social justice and fiscal responsibility in state economic governance outweigh those counterpoints — join us in voting Yes on Amendment 2 (Medicaid expansion) on Aug. 4.

George Smith is a retired MU biology professor and a supporter of Amendment 2 (Medicaid expansion) on the Aug. 4 ballot.


About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.

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