The Missouri State Legislature ended their session this past week and once again Medicaid expansion failed to pass. I participated in another rally at the Capitol on May 13th along with about 150 other protestors; a last ditch effort demanding Medicaid expansion. I appreciated the effectiveness of our tactics as we stormed the halls of the Capitol singing and chanting as we delivered legal boxes full of letters from concerned constituents. Singing “We Shall Overcome” with a group who marched 150 miles from Kansas City to Jefferson City was especially powerful. Unfortunately, 300,000 uninsured Missourians are still stuck in the coverage gap. Many Missourians are dying who have no means to go to a doctor and get assistance. They are feeling the burden of the legislature’s inaction.
Our message also included urging expanding Medicaid to help rural areas, creating more jobs in their hospitals. They will benefit more from the expansion than the cities. We struggled to get this point across in the light of the disappointment of the day before when the “Right to Work” legislation passed the Senate. Workers unions still present the next day shared their frustrations with us. Fortunately, hope is strong the Governor will veto the bill and there will not be enough votes to override his veto.
Overall, I found the rally to be purposeful and well organized. Our chant “no Medicaid, no peace” was heard in the House chamber. I felt reassured of our impact shortly before I left when I heard a State Representative reintroduce the topic on to the floor. There is always next year to keep up the struggle.
Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.