Medicaid expansion necessary in Missouri

As reported on Missourinet (June 12, 2020), the "Republican-leaning" Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is backing Medicaid expansion on the Aug. 4 primary election ballot. In a statement, President Dan Mehan explained the business group supports Amendment 2 as a "pro-jobs measure" that will help "fuel economic growth throughout our state."

In addition, a healthcare scorecard was published last year by the Commonwealth Fund. It compiled public data using 47 indicators and found Missouri ranked 43rd among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. These facts taken together beg the question: Why has Missouri not already availed itself of the federal expansion money and instead opted to leave $15.5 billion sitting on the table over the next decade? (see

The statistics are sobering with 352,000 as the number of additional Missourians who would be covered if the state accepted expansion and 87,000 as the number of people who have no realistic access to health insurance without it. Rural Missourians who are already some of the poorest in the state (including many of our own neighbors) have been hit the hardest -- and that was before the 2020 pandemic.

So why have our elected leaders opted out? The simplest answer is: Because there is no leadership. The current slate of local GOP House and Senate candidates -- two of whom are looking to swap seats in a desperate effort to maintain their own health insurance and retirement benefits -- have done extraordinarily little for the citizens of our area in terms of healthcare, managing pandemics or assisting businesses in any way as fundamentally important as supporting Medicaid expansion.

Now you know why their campaigns have been filled with name calling and mudslinging. It is because they have nothing else to show for themselves. No real accomplishments to point to and, sadly for us, no real vision of prosperity for our future.

Please join me in voting absolutely yes on Amendment 2, August 4.

Andy Leighton, candidate for House District 147

Paid for by Leighton For MO, Roy Leighton, Treasurer