Group visits local hospital to promote Medicaid expansion

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri voters will soon be able to decide whether or not to expand Medicaid in the state at an earlier date.

This amendment will be on the August ballot instead of November as a “yes or no” question of whether or not to expand Medicaid.

Over 30 states in the United States have already expanded Medicaid, and on May 26, a group visited Cox Hospital in Springfield to campaign for the expansion.

“If you’re having a stroke or a heart attack, driving an extra 45 minutes or an hour away literally could be the difference between life and death,” said Jack Cardetti, with Healthcare for Missouri.

Healthcare for Missouri says the leading cause for bankruptcy in the United States is healthcare expenses.

“We’re talking about our low-income, hard-working individuals cannot afford to go see a primary care doctor,” said Doctor Jim Blaine, a family medicine physician. “Until it’s too late, they’re going to have to go to an emergency room.”

“So what ends up happening is they get hit with the bill that they’re never going to pay,” said Reverend T.J. Appleby, the Sanctuary of Praise Church of God in Christ pastor in Springfield. “They will pay on that bill for months and years, and never get it paid off because somewhere along the lines, they’re going to get sick again or someone else in their family’s going to get sick. It’s a vicious, never-ending cycle.”

Doctors argued that Missouri hospitals are closing down, most of them being rural areas.

“This will help keep our rural Missouri hospitals, protect our jobs, make sure all of our neighbors have access to healthcare, no matter where they live,” said Ray Weter, a former Christian County presiding commissioner.

The group is happy with the earlier election and hopes voters will get Medicaid expansion passed.

“I pray and hope that this will pass and it will be brought into our state, we can take care of our needy brothers and sisters,” said Appleby.

“There’s a reason they call it the show-me state,” said Cardetti. “We want to see this worked in other states, it clearly has.”

The group, Healthcare for Missouri, will be stopping in Joplin on May 27.

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