Faith leaders find common ground with Missouri Medicaid expansion

A diverse group of interfaith leaders from across Missouri assembled Tuesday to publicly pledge their support for the upcoming August 4 vote for Missouri Medicaid expansion.

“We believe that all people are created in the image of God and have an inherent dignity and rights, including access to medical care,” said Rev. William Dotson, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in St. Charles, at a virtual news conference. “Medicaid expansion allows us to make sure that our brothers and sisters, Jesus in our midst, are cared for.”

Joining Dotson were the Rev Vernon Howard, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City; Dr. Khaja Hussain, a physician and chair of the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis; and Rabbi Susan Talve of Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis.

“Has there ever been a time when we have understood more clearly that no one can ever be healthy while so many do not have access to healthcare?” Talve said. “Has there ever been a time that we knew without a doubt that we cannot stand idly by as Missouri families struggle because we have refused to take care of each other?”

“Medicaid expansion will make a huge difference - it will save lives,” she continued. “Thirty-seven other states have expanded for good reason - fewer bankruptcies, fewer evictions, less medical debt and more money to grow the economy.”

Medicaid expansion would help hundreds of thousands of hardworking Missourians and their families who fall into the coverage gap, with jobs that don’t provide health coverage and who are unable to afford private insurance. An estimated 230,000 state residents would benefit, with eligibility for individuals limited to those earning less than $18,000 a year.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis determined that Medicaid expansion will save Missouri more than $1 billion annually by 2026 and reduce many of the healthcare costs the state of Missouri currently pays.

In 2018, voters in Utah, Idaho and Nebraska chose to expand Medicaid, and on June 30, voters in Oklahoma passed a Medicaid expansion ballot measure of their own.

Yes on 2: Healthcare for Missouri is a grassroots, nonpartisan effort led by Missourians, including doctors, nurses, healthcare advocates, civic and business leaders and Missourians who need healthcare.