The defeat last week of the Medicaid expansion proposal by the Missouri House of Representatives was a shameful step backward for Missouri (5/7, National/Local). The main point of contention in the bill was funding to provide health care for more than 34,000 poor parents.
Opponents of the bill could not reasonably argue that the state can’t afford this, since it would have cost the state nothing.
Opponents did argue that it was a bad idea to extend “welfare” (i.e. health care) to more Missourians, because it would make them dependent and decrease their incentive to support themselves. But casting health care as “welfare” is grossly inaccurate.
The majority of the uninsured are individuals who work at low-paying jobs that do not provide health insurance as a benefit. During these economic tough times, many families are struggling as hours are cut, factories close, jobs disappear and wages plummet.
Missouri took another step backward in drastically cutting Medicaid in 2005.
It was a cruel and unnecessary decision to not provide health care to 34,000 low-income Missourians — a decision based on political considerations rather than reality for Missouri’s working parents.