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Mary Schantz

Jefferson City

Dear Editor:

It seems like Missouri may not be the "Show Me" state after all.

Thirty-six other states have shown Missouri how expanding Medicaid has improved the health of their citizens, improved their state's economy and quality of life. Those same states are also eating up Missouri's federal tax dollars to help pay for their health care. How did they do this? They expanded their Medicaid programs and let the federal government pay for almost 100 percent of their expanded Medicaid health care costs. They were able to use Missouri's unused tax money in the process.

Why didn't Missouri expand the Medicaid program years ago when the federal government first made the offer to the states? Because our elected officials didn't want to. They preferred to play partisan politics, to deny Missourians health care, and give our tax dollars to other states that chose to expand Medicaid to low income workers.

Health Care for Missouri, a coalition of doctors, nurses, patients, business executives, and health care supporters are conducting a statewide campaign to let voters decide whether the state should expand Medicaid — to put the issue to a vote of the people.

Missouri voters have an opportunity to fix the problem created by elected officials. If passed, Missouri will join the 36 other states that are taking advantage of the federal governments health care payments to improve the health and economy of their states.

A public forum, sponsored by Jefferson City Area Indivisible, will be held at the Missouri River Regional Library at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12 to discuss what Medicaid expansion would do for Missouri and the local economy and the health of our citizens. Representatives from health care organizations and providers groups will be part of the presentation along with a short video about how other states have fared since they expanded their Medicaid programs.

Missouri voters can choose to do what our elected officials would not do. We should no longer give away our tax dollars. We can improve the economy of the state and health care for our citizens. We can "show them." Please come to the forum on Nov. 12 to learn more.

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