To the editor:

Missouri voters have gotten tired of waiting for their Republican legislators to do the right thing. In 2018, thanks to grass roots organizers, petitions were developed, signatures were gathered, and voters gave our minimum wage workers a raise. They also prevented Republicans from enacting so called “right to work” laws and destroying unions. But Missouri working poor are still behind the eight ball.

Thirty-six states have expanded Medicaid. Several Republican states passed Medicaid expansion through ballot initiatives including Nebraska, Idaho and Utah. It is time in Missouri.

Petition drives are underway all around the state. The first question naysayers throw out is “how much is it going to cost”?

Consider this. The U.S. defense budget is $686 trillion dollars/year. If you divide this by the 327 million U.S. population, that works outs to $2,097/year for person. The share for a family of four is about $8,400/year. The U.S. has spent 5.9 trillion since 2003 in our wars in the middle east. This is $18,000/person or $72,000 for each family of four our country.

I don’t see a lot of return on this investment in Howell County. On the other hand Medicaid expansion will give health insurance to over 200,000 Missouri low income workers. A single McDonalds or Walmart worker can earn $17,000/year and be eligible for health insurance and a single parent with one child could earn $23,000.

Rural hospitals in non-Medicaid expansion states have a higher rate of closing, so Medicaid expansion will help support good paying jobs at OMC, and other hospitals and clinics in our area.

Missouri is losing out on $1.5 billion/year of federal funding that will come back to Missouri, funding that Arkansas, Nebraska and other states around us are getting. And if taxes have to be raised slightly to pay for Medicaid expansion, it would work out to about $81/year for each person in Missouri.

If we can afford $2,097 each for our military, I know I am willing to spend $81 to protect our hospitals and help our low income workers. Please consider signing the Medicaid Expansion petition if you get a chance.

Earl Fuller

Willow Springs

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