Since as far back as 2005, Missouri has had some of the lowest eligibility rates for medicaid in the nation. Our low rates have left hundreds of thousands of families without a lifeline in times of vulnerability, leading to unnecessary suffering and tragic early loss of life. As dozens of other states took advantage of enhanced federal funding through the ACA to expand their eligibility, Missouri’s legislature remained stubbornly opposed.
Impressed with our victories in the 2018 elections and ballot initiatives, business groups who had lobbied for expansion for years reached out to build a campaign that would use citizen power to overcome our legislative roadblocks. With an army of well trained signature gatherers and campaigners, we were ready.
MO JWJ once again led the state, collecting over 40,000 signatures to insure qualification for Amendment 2. When the Governor moved the issue to August and the pandemic forced us onto the phones instead of doors, we responded in force training hundreds of phone bankers who made hundreds of thousands of calls. When the dust settled on August 4th, Missouri became the 39th state to expand our medicaid program, a decade later than we should have and 15 years after it was cut. As a result, billions of dollars will flow back into Missouri’s economy, protecting Missouri rural hospitals and healthcare providers and most importantly, an estimated 230,000 Missourians will again have access to important health insurance.