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Missouri Academy of Family Physicians endorses Medicaid expansion campaign

For the past six months, the Healthcare for Missouri Medicaid expansion campaign has traveled the state collecting voter signatures to qualify for the November general election ballot - with a growing coalition of organizations joining the cause.

On Monday, the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians became the latest organization to endorse the campaign, as momentum to give Missouri voters a voice in the fall election continues to build.

“Approximately one in five medical office visits are made to family physicians,” said Kathy Pabst, executive director of the nonprofit medical society, which counts more than 2,500 physicians, residents and medical students across Missouri as members.

“Family physicians see more individuals and families who are underserved, poor or come from a rural community than any other medical specialty. We have also seen the closure of 10 rural hospitals in Missouri since 2014,” she added. “More than ever, Medicaid needs to expand in our state to provide Missourians access to healthcare.”

To date, roughly 170 organizations have formally endorsed the statewide campaign for Medicaid expansion, including the Missouri Nurses Association, the Missouri NAACP State Conference and the United Way of Greater Kansas City.

Medicaid expansion in Missouri would help provide health coverage to more than 230,000 uninsured adults in the state, the overwhelming majority of whom work at jobs that don’t provide health coverage, by extending eligibility to individuals earning less than $18,000 a year. That cohort includes 50,000 parents and 18,000 near retirees.

It would bring more than $1 billion of our tax dollars home from Washington each year, create thousands of jobs and boost the state’s economy.

Thirty-six states have already opted to expand Medicaid, including neighboring Arkansas, where officials reported using savings from expansion to cut state income taxes and reduce payments previously allocated to the uninsured.

The Missouri border states of Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska and Iowa have also opted for Medicaid expansion.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have shown that expansion could save our state more than $1 billion by 2026 by reducing many of the healthcare costs the state now pays.

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, and in accordance with federal, state, and local guidelines and public health best practices, Healthcare for Missouri has temporarily paused the collection of voter signatures. But thanks to a strong and early start to voter signature collections, the campaign will be able to submit the required number of valid signatures by the early May deadline.