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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson Uses Political Maneuver To Stymie Medicaid Expansion

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GOP Missouri Gov. Mike Parson moved the date of a Medicaid expansion ballot question to the state’s lower-turnout August primary with the hope that the initiative will fail. In the midst of a global pandemic, Parson is yet again showing his complete disregard for the health of Missourians.
Parson’s previous refusals to expand Medicaid left rural Missourians vulnerable and billions in federal aid on the table. Since 2010, Missouri has seen seven rural hospitals close putting Missouri in the top five states for hospital closures. And right now, 44 of Missouri’s 114 counties are without a hospital and more than half the state’s counties have no ICU beds. In a recent report from the Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri rural hospital leaders indicated their support for Medicaid expansion.
Parson’s main argument against Medicaid expansion is that it would add to the state’s looming budget crisis. But an estimate prepared by Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway says Medicaid expansion could save the state up to $1 billion annually by 2026. Thirty-six governors have approved Medicaid expansion in their states, including Mike Pence as governor of Indiana. Galloway, who is the likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee, strongly supports Medicaid expansion.
“At a time when Missourians need healthcare the most, Mike Parson is bending over backward to block Medicaid expansion,” said DGA Deputy Communications Director Christina Amestoy. “The motive behind Parson’s move to put the initiative on the August ballot is clear – he wants it to fail. But he’ll soon learn that no matter what month it is, Missourians will show up and demand affordable health care.”