Missouri Medicaid Coalition organized its first lobby day of the 2015 legislative session this past Tuesday. Pam Demasi and I volunteered to lobby advocating for Medicaid expansion. The tactics changed a little from last year: we were asked to talk about Medicaid reform and transformation rather than expansion. This generated more attention and discussion among our state representatives opposed to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion without reform. Many of them were aware of the work of Ryan Silvey, our Liberty District Senator, who introduced legislation last year on Medicaid reform. Most of those we talked with were neutral about reform at this point, but were open to accepting additional Medicaid funding provided the system is reformed. Overall, state representatives for the Kansas City Metro area were more willing to listen than last year. I am a little more hopeful that they will consider expanding Medicaid this year. I was especially grateful for six other members of our team who represented those with disabilities that are falling through the cracks.
Our training encouraged us to advocate for closing the coverage gap. Under health reform, every person was supposed to have a way to get health care coverage. Workers with low incomes will qualify for Medicaid. Due to some of Missouri’s key elected officials refusal to expand Medicaid, there is now a coverage gap. Some 300,000 workers make too much money to qualify for the current Medicaid system yet make too little money to qualify for the subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. Our faith called us to speak out on their behalf. Medicaid expansion will help working families with low incomes who are doing all they can to make ends meet in a difficult economy. Without it, an estimated 700 Missourians will die this year. Please pray for the health reform in Missouri so these people can stay alive.
Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.