Northeast Missourians unite in support of Medicaid expansion ballot initiative

Community leaders in the hometown of famous author Mark Twain united Thursday in support of the statewide campaign to place Medicaid expansion on the November general election ballot.

Speakers included the chief executive officer of Hannibal Regional Hospital, and other local leaders.

“Expanding Medicaid in Missouri is something I feel very strongly about and I’ve been saying it for years that more Missourians need access to Medicaid,” said Todd Ahrens, CEO of Hannibal Regional Hospital. “It is imperative that Missouri voters have the opportunity to allow their voices to be heard in November’s general election to be given the choice to expand Medicaid.”

Medicaid expansion in Missouri would help provide health coverage to more than 230,000 uninsured adults in the state, the overwhelming majority of whom work at jobs that don’t provide health coverage, by extending eligibility to individuals earning less than $18,000 a year. That cohort includes 50,000 parents and 18,000 near retirees.

It would bring more than $1 billion of our tax dollars home from Washington each year, create thousands of jobs and boost the state’s economy.

Thirty-six states have already opted to expand Medicaid, including neighboring Arkansas, where officials reported using savings from expansion to cut state income taxes and reduce payments previously allocated to the uninsured.

The Missouri border states of Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska and Iowa have also opted for Medicaid expansion.

An expansive body of research shows that Medicaid expansion will not just save lives but could also save taxpayers money.
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have shown that expansion could save our state more than $1 billion by 2026 by reducing many of the healthcare costs the state now pays.

And an analysis of Medicaid expansion in Arkansas, Indiana and Ohio shows how those states have used Medicaid-derived savings to cut income taxes, increase government efficiency and improve worker productivity.

That report concluded that Medicaid expansion in Missouri ‘can be designed to budget for savings and revenue opportunities that significantly exceed the state’s cost of implementation.”

Healthcare for Missouri continues to collect voter signatures with a goal of qualifying for the November general election. The campaign reported earlier this month that it has collected more than 75 percent of the 172,000 valid voter signatures required for submission by early May.