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Medicaid Expansion: Much to Celebrate, Much Still to Do

Dec 17, 2012 | By Ellen Albritton

On Thursday, November 29, 2012, a broad coalition of advocates in Missouri, including many NETWORK members, had much to celebrate, as Governor Jay Nixon publically announced his support for Medicaid expansion in Missouri and his inclusion of it in his 2014 budget! NETWORK agrees with Governor Nixon that “It’s the smart thing to do, and it’s the right thing to do,” as not only will the expansion provide life-saving health coverage to many hardworking Missouri families, but it is also expected to create 24,000 jobs in the state.

Gov. Nixon’s announcement was unexpected news to many, as he has been non-committal regarding provisions of the Affordable Care Act throughout his 2012 re-election campaign. Prior to the November 6 election, NETWORK members and Missouri “Nuns on the Bus” participants made a trip to Jefferson City to meet with Governor Nixon’s budget director, encouraging him to ask Governor Nixon to include the Medicaid expansion in his budget for 2014. These NETWORK members are part of a wide coalition of Medicaid expansion supporters in Missouri, including the Missouri Hospital Association and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, among many others.

While we certainly celebrate this significant success, we know there is still much work to be done. Many state Republicans, who have a super majority in both the Missouri House and Senate, have voiced their strong opposition to the Medicaid expansion. Additionally, most other states have either rejected the expansion or have yet to make a decision. Governor Nixon’s unexpected announcement shows us the power that citizens can have when they take action, so we are calling on all our members and supporters to “get on the bus” and lobby their governors and state legislators across the nation to support the expansion.

If you are interested in standing up for the millions living below 133% of the federal poverty line who could gain access to health coverage through the Medicaid expansion, please check out our Medicaid expansion toolkit at http://www.networklobby.org/nuns-bus-medicaid-expansion or email me at ealbritton@networklobby.org.