Your Opinion: Medicaid expansion advances health care

Dear Editor,

Gov. Jay Nixon wants legislators to consider taking Medicaid funds offered in Affordable Care Act. It’s a good idea. Missouri would be foolish not to take it. If we don’t, our share it will go to another state. Yes, I am aware that the money will decrease over time. Missouri may have to decrease the number of those served at some later date, but it is still worth the risk to get folks the help they need right now.

My hope is that Missourians that get preventative health care now will not be a drain on our health care system later. The benefit to these individuals is an improved quality of life. I believe that we owe it to our fellow Missourians to help those who can’t afford health insurance to get it. America is the richest nation on earth and yet we have citizens in our country that do not have access to affordable health care.

Countries with far fewer resources than ours have full health coverage for all of their citizens. In fact, when you talk to people from other countries about our health care and its flaws, they look at us like we’re speaking Martian.

I know many out there will not welcome this idea with open arms. It will be mere days before we see the plethora of letters to this forum decrying the ruination of Missouri and the increase of the welfare state.

Frankly, I don’t care what you call it as long as we can help some people that have had to do without for so long. Many are the working poor who are paid just enough to be ineligible for help, have jobs that don’t offer health care, or don’t get enough hours to qualify for coverage offered to full-time employees.

Most reasonable folks know that Medicaid is not what one would call premium care. To say that private health care may be better is a given but when you have no health care at all some is better than none.

Think for a minute what good health means to you — you can be productive at work, you’re better able to deal with stress, and you can enjoy daily life. Without it, work is more difficult, stress increases, and day-to-day life becomes much harder. While this addition to Missouri health care is far from perfect, we owe it to our fellow Missourians to try.

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