Voters in Missouri on Tuesday approved a ballot measure expanding Medicaid to roughly 230,000 low-income residents.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting, 53 percent voted "yes" on the measure, while 47 percent voted "no." Missouri is the sixth red state to expand Medicaid, and the second to do so amid the coronavirus pandemic, after Oklahoma. The state is now reporting on average more than 1,200 daily new coronavirus cases, nearly three times more than a month ago, Politico reports.
Missouri has until July 1, 2021, to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The measure amends the state's constitution, so lawmakers cannot add requirements to the program. Gov. Mike Parson (R) opposed the expansion, saying it was too expensive and the state doesn't have enough money to pay for it. The federal government gives states up to 90 percent of funding necessary for Medicaid expansion, an improvement over the 65 percent provided to Missouri now under its current program.
"Quite frankly, Missourians are sick and tired of not getting their fair share," Jack Cardetti, a spokesman for the ballot initiative's organizers, told Politico last week "They pay their taxes, they've seen now 37 other states use that money to expand access to health care. Meanwhile, our economy's clearly ailing here."