Letter to the Editor

Wrong on Medicaid expansion

On Aug. 4, 2020, the citizens of Missouri by a vote of 672,967 to 590,809 passed Medicaid expansion. This is a plan to offer public health insurance to thousands of additional low-income individuals. This vote defied the wishes of the Republican politicians who had blocked it at the statehouse for years and implored voters to reject it at the ballot box. Under this plan any lawful adult resident earning up to 138% of the federal poverty line, which is around $17,600 a year for individuals and $36,150 for a family of four, will be eligible for coverage starting July 2021.

However, the Republican members of the state legislature have thwarted the will of the voting electorate by refusing to appropriate the funds required to make expansion work. They were given cover by Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem. He ruled that expansion cannot be implemented because the Missouri Constitution provides that state revenues may not be expended without an appropriation.

If Medicaid expansion had been made operational, the federal government would cover 90% of its cost. Missouri's share of the cost would be about $1.9 billion. This amount only represents about five and a half percent of Missouri's recently enacted $35 billion budget.

I believe this refusal to follow the vote of Missouri citizens and to provide medical care for our fellow human beings raises the question of just how pro-life are our elected officials? And secondly, how deep is their belief in representative government?

JOHN PIEPHO, Cape Girardeau