Parson’s Staunch Opposition to Medicaid Expansion Leaves Vulnerable Missourians In Health Care-Desert As Global Pandemic Closes In
Missouri Fifth In Nation For Rural Hospital Closures Since 2010
Even as critical rural hospitals closed across the state, GOP Gov. Mike Parson has been unwavering in his opposition to Medicaid expansion. Now as coronavirus cases rise, the governor’s failure to save Missouri’s rural hospitals threatens the lives of even more Missourians.
Since 2010, Missouri has seen seven rural hospitals close putting Missouri in the top five states for hospital closures. And its remaining hospitals are not safe. Missouri is just one of five states where 40% or more of its rural hospitals are vulnerable. Right now, 44 of Missouri’s 114 counties are without a hospital and more than half the state’s counties have no ICU beds.
Parson had the chance to get ahead of this growing crisis. Analysis has repeatedly shown that rural hospitals in Medicaid-expansion states are at a lower risk of closure, and new reports show that Medicaid expansion may determine if these same hospitals can stay open through the pandemic. But even as recently as February, Parson doubled down on his refusal to expand the program.
Now with the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping into rural counties, Missouri’s rural health infrastructure is wholly unprepared to care for its vulnerable population.
“For years, Mike Parson has refused to put good policy ahead of partisan politics and now Missourians’ lives are at risk,” said Christina Amestoy, DGA Deputy Communications Director. “Because of Mike Parson’s failure to lead, rural Missourians will be forced to battle the worst public health crisis in modern history without adequate care or support. Mike Parson needs to be held accountable for the infuriating and heartbreaking crisis he has helped create.”