Now more than ever, Missourians need to be able to access care in their own communities and protect thousands of local frontline health care jobs.

Amendment 2 will help keep rural hospitals and urban clinics open by bringing $1 billion of our own tax dollars back from Washington, instead of going to the 37 other states that have expanded Medicaid. — Jack Cardetti

On Aug. 4, Missourians will have an opportunity to do the right thing. The right thing is to expand Medicaid.

We had an opportunity to expand Medicaid once before, but we chose to do the wrong thing. We were seduced into believing that Medicaid was only for urban centers like Kansas City and St. Louis.

That was conservative-coded language for “Medicaid is only for Black people and people of color.” We now know that Medicaid expansion helps our white rural communities and all Missourians in general.

We were given a false narrative. Now, we know the truth. We must expand Medicaid.

Thirty-seven states plus the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid. Missouri is one of 13 states that has not.

Other states have realized that it is the moral obligation of state governments to act in a manner that assists the citizenry to live better and healthier lives.

Good health care can no longer be a luxury for just the wealthy. Medicaid expansion will move us toward narrowing the health disparity that exists between the rich and poor in Missouri.

We have a moral obligation to address medical/health disparities in our state. We can no longer allow political rhetoric to prevent us from doing the right thing. We abrogated our collective moral responsibility once, let us not do it again.

The pandemic in Missouri has powerfully demonstrated that the need for Medicaid is without question. More and more of our citizens are becoming ill and or dying from COVID-19.

The virus is not going away soon, and now, with the foolishness of schools reopening amid the pandemic, the need for health care will increase.

We know that Gov. Mike Parson does not get it. We, who are parents and grandparents, understand that the well-being of our children, our family members and our neighbors is far greater than the economic issues Medicaid expansion raises. When the issues are life and health versus profit, we must always choose life.

Here is the no-brainer: If we help people acquire the medical care they need, they will be better able to work and improve the economy. An investment in people is an investment in the common good.

When rural hospitals are open and functioning well, it helps Missouri as a whole. When folks in urban centers have access to good medical care, all of Missouri prospers.

The time for excuses is over. The time to expand Medicaid is now.

So, fellow citizens, let us do the right thing this time. Vote “yes” on Amendment 2 on Aug. 4. A “yes” vote for Medicaid expansion is morally correct and will help Missouri be a better state for all of us.

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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