I have met many Clay County residents who fall into the Medicaid coverage gap. These constituents, our neighbors, make less than $17,609 per year, but do not currently qualify for Medicaid. That means they sacrifice necessities or cannot pay their bills in order to afford health care or they go without health insurance.

Recently, Oklahoma voted to help more of their citizens access affordable, quality health care through a better Medicaid program. Now that Oklahoma has expanded Medicaid, Missouri is surrounded by six states that have made Medicaid available to working families.

In fact, Missouri is one of only 13 states that has failed to make these common sense reforms. As a result, 564,000 Missourians had no health insurance in 2018, a number that only grew after Gov. Parson’s administration kicked 100,000 children off the Medicaid rolls.

To make matters worse, the economic downturn has left even more Missourians without health insurance because they lost their jobs or could not find new jobs with health benefits. A recent study by the nonpartisan Families USA group found that an estimated 100,000 Missourians have been stripped of their health insurance during the pandemic.

Simply put, the health care situation in Missouri is worse now than ever.

The good news is, we can begin to fix these problems on Aug. 4. On Aug. 4, we can vote "yes" on Amendment 2 to expand Medicaid to working Missourians and to provide health care to more families throughout the state.

In addition to making families healthier, expanding Medicaid would strengthen our economy by bringing home more than $1 billion of our tax money that Washington, D.C. would otherwise send to states like California or New York.

A nonpartisan analysis by Washington University found that Medicaid expansion in Missouri would be approximately revenue neutral and could create cost savings of about $39 million in its first year. Meanwhile, an estimated 232,000 additional Missourians could receive coverage under Medicaid expansion, including hardworking individuals in the coverage gap."

Without a doubt, Medicaid expansion would be good for the economy, good for families and good for any business that wants its workers to stay healthy.

That’s why I’m voting "yes" on Amendment 2 this Aug. 4, and I hope you will too for a healthier and more prosperous Missouri.

Lauren Arthur

Missouri senator for District 17

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