Letter to the Editor: Students, Missourians deserve Medicaid expansion

Missouri Medicaid expansion is a major topic of debate for lawmakers in Jefferson City. A broad range of Columbia organizations, including the University of Missouri, have expressed support for expansion. Not only will the program offer health care coverage to more than 100,000 Missourians, it will have a significant boost to jobs and our local economies.

As an MU graduate student, I am certainly aware of the importance of Medicaid expansion for young adults. More than one-half of uninsured Missourians are under age 35. While the national health care law allows children to be on their parent’s health plan to age 26, there’s no guarantee families have a policy to put them on. Only 43 percent of Missouri small businesses even offer a health plan. Medicaid is likely the most affordable alternative.

I encourage our state elected officials to support the receipt of federal funding to enact Medicaid expansion in Missouri. Otherwise, who pays? We pay! There would likely be additional budget cuts to education, and additional hardship placed on the backs of college students in the form of fees and on the working class in the form of regressive taxes and cuts to vital services.

Please let Sen. Kurt Schaefer from Columbia, chair of the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee, know that we expect him to fully fund Medicaid expansion. I know that I have. And, I encourage other voters ranging from the very young and old to do the same.

—Curtis Edwards, acer34@mail.missouri.edu

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