Why Medicaid Expansion Matters in Missouri
Jul 28, 2020
Kansas City, Mo., July 28, 2020 – Medicaid expansion is on the Aug. 4 ballot. If approved, 230,000 Missourians would gain access to health care, becoming the 37th state to do so. Many of these are workers who do not have employer-sponsored coverage and lack the income to purchase health insurance. Currently, Missouri ranks among the lowest of states when it comes to income eligibility for Medicaid at a limit of $373 per month for a family of three. Under expansion, the income threshold would rise to $30,000 a year for a family of three, making coverage available for many working families.
“As an organization representing pregnant women and children, we are often asked why we support Medicaid expansion when pregnant women are already eligible for Medicaid under expanded income guidelines applicable during pregnancy. The answer to that question is simple. The health of our mothers is important throughout their lives, not just during pregnancy,” says Tracy Russell, Executive Director of Nurture KC. “It is time to view health care through a lens of wellness rather than immediate care needs or sickness. If mothers are healthy before and after pregnancy, their lives and their children’s are much likelier to be healthy.”
The experience of other expansion states proves this point:
- Expansion states have experienced a 50% greater decline in infant mortality than non-expansion states. This decline is greatest for Black babies.
- Women without health insurance are 3 to 4 times more likely to die of pregnancy complications than those who are insured.
“The coalition supporting Medicaid expansion is broad, diverse and extensive, bringing together rural and urban, business and nonprofit, young and old, underserved and establishment,” Russell says. “While there are many economic benefits to expansion, such as additional jobs and securing federal tax dollars for Missouri, Nurture KC’s support stems from the unprecedented impact expansion will have on the health and lives of the families we serve.”
Nurture KC promotes family health through community planning, education, advocacy and collaboration with organizations addressing infant and maternal mortality, immunization and child safety. Nurture KC is committed to health equity for all families – regardless of race, place or circumstance. Check out our web site at www.nurturekc.org and visit us on Facebook and Twitter. Nurture KC is located at 1111 W. 39th Street, Suite 100, KC, MO 64111.
Executive Director, Nurture KC