Position – Health Care for All Missourians
Health Care Positions
Missouri voters continued to voice their opposition to certain provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in November, when they strongly supported a ballot proposition (known as Proposition E) which would prohibit the state from creating health insurance exchanges without legislative or voter approval.
Women’s Voices had recommended a “no” vote on this ballot proposal.
Federal law requires states to create exchanges to help uninsured individuals purchase health insurance. According to a spokeswoman for MIssouri Health Care For All, Proposition E was an attempt to play politics with people’s health care. Because federal law takes precedence over state law, the ability of Proposition E to have any influence in the creation of health insurance exchanges is doubtful.
Women’s Voices is a member of the Missouri Health Care for All organization.
Drastic cuts to Missouri’s Medicaid program in 2005 brought the total of uninsured residents to approximately 700,000, one in every eight individuals.1 Of these, 190,000 children under age 19 are uninsured, an increase of more than 50 percent during the past two years.2 The Medicaid Reform Commission, a group charged with suggesting ways to end the state’s current Medicaid program by 2008, has made several recommendations that do little to substantially address the areas of eligibility, availability, and delivery of service.3
The lack of access to affordable health care has serious consequences, not only for the thousands of uninsured or underinsured individuals, but for all of Missouri. When people have no insurance, they forego preventive care and rely on emergency rooms, rather than more cost-effective primary care settings. Children are especially vulnerable because good care, including timely immunizations, is essential to healthy development. Poor health significantly impacts the state’s economy in the form of lost earnings due to fewer years of healthy life and lower productivity. The uninsured wait until illness and disease are advanced before seeking care, which results in higher rates of communicable diseases and greater treatment costs. The lack of an adequate health care system means higher insurance premiums and other costs for all Missouri residents.4
In view of these facts, we believe:
- Every resident of Missouri deserves to have access to adequate, affordable health care. Providing such a network of care would be a wise investment in the state’s future, benefiting all Missourians, including aging adults, working parents, individuals with disabilities, and the mentally ill.
- Children’s health care can be an effective starting point for achieving such care for all. We endorse the principles of Citizens for Missouri’s Children that call for affordable health services for all Missouri’s children, including prevention services.2
- The new Medicaid program anticipated in 2008 must create a strong safety net for all residents who need adequate, affordable health care, including those who lost Medicaid coverage two years ago. We endorse the principles of the Missouri Budget Project that guide Medicaid and health care reform.3
1. Kaiser Family Foundation (www.statehealthfacts.org)
2. Citizens for Missouri’s Children (www.mokids.org)
3. Missouri Budget Project (www.mobudget.org)
4. Missouri Foundation for Health (www.mffh.org); Urban Institute (www.urban.org)