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Cindi Keele Johnson

Holts Summit

Dear Editor:

When I hear politicians brag about cutting services/benefits to the poor, I cringe. Those cuts are easily made if we think help systems are rife with freeloaders. That's a lie.

Contrary to the myth, our systems are tight. Positive ID, proof of citizenship, residency and financial status are required.

But no system is airtight. The occasional jerk gets through. I would rather feed and give healthcare to the occasional jerk than make a mother with young children go hungry and fall into destitution.

Trump's new SNAP rule enacts a work requirement, something we already have. With it, needy people fall through the cracks. A poor mother with an ill or severely disabled 7-year-old must work outside the home or be denied food stamps. She can't meet the "work" requirement because she is too poor to afford a medically trained caregiver.

If her sole income is $375 from month in child support ($4,500 a year) Missouri considers her too wealthy for Medicaid and able to purchase a plan on her own.

We once enjoyed the peace of mind of a safety net. If disaster struck, we knew we would not go hungry or wind up on the streets. Help was there to help us get us back on our feet. Today we have no such assurance. Years of cuts took that from us.

One way to partially restore peace of mind is Medicaid expansion. This would cover that mom, our poor and low wage workers who are uninsured. Without it, our tax dollars continue to go to the expansion states to pay for health care. We should bring our tax dollars back to provide healthcare to our own poor.

Refusing expansion made rural life harder. We lose rural hospitals and clinics as Disproportionate Share Funds are phased out. The funds are redirected to pay (in large part) for expansion, thus preventing a tax hike.

Expansion states enjoyed an economic boost and a steep reduction in bankruptcies due to medical debt. Their healthcare industry is booming. Doctors accept Medicaid due to attractive incentives and payments for wellness/health maintenance activities.

In Missouri, politicians took a hard stance against the ACA and expansion long before they understood its impact. They opposed it even after they realized it would greatly benefit their constituents. Let's improve the lives of 300,000 Missourians in November.

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