Christian County voters didn’t support it, but Missourians voted to enact an amendment to the state constitution that will expand access to Medicaid coverage.
Medicaid, called MO HealthNet in Missouri, will be extended to add an estimated 230,000 eligible people to its membership. About 90 percent of the expansion costs will be paid through the federal government, and Missouri lawmakers will be left to build the remaining 10 percent into the state budget on a yearly basis.
Amendment 2 passed with 672,967 “Yes” votes against 590,809 votes in opposition. According to the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office, 53.25 percent of the voters who cast ballots on Aug. 4 voted for Medicaid expansion.
In Christian County, voters chose “No,” by a margin of 10,940 against 5,656.
“Access to health care has never been more important than it is right now. Today’s historic victory for Amendment 2 highlights that when it comes to the care of our neighbors and the health of our ailing economy, Medicaid expansion uniquely unites Missourians,” Yes on 2 campaign manager A.J. Bockelman said moments after the campaign declared a win on Aug. 4.
The expansion will allow coverage for Missourians who earn up to 133 percent of what is considered the federal poverty level, which means Medicaid coverage will be offered to individuals who earn up to about $18,000 per year.
Ray Weter, a former state representative and a former Christian County presiding commissioner, supported the expansion of MO HealthNet to close what he said is a gap in health care coverage for people who can’t afford expanded federal health coverage, but make too much money to qualify for Medicaid.
“Far too many hardworking Missouri families are slipping through the cracks in that broken system—forced to choose between paying for lifesaving care and putting food on the table or making a house payment,” Weter wrote in a guest commentary for the Headliner News. “Families in this coverage gap, most of whom hold down full-time jobs, earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and not enough to be able to afford private insurance.”