Medicaid Group Calls For Full Expansion

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JEFFERSON CITY - A group calling itself the "Missouri Medicaid Coalition" asked the state of Missouri to expand Medicaid as prescribed by the Affordable Care Act at a news conference Thursday.

The conference came a day after the group kicked off a statewide grassroots campaign to build support for expanding the program with rallies in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Mexico resident Jeannie Coley, who spoke at the news conference, said a Medicaid expansion would allow her family to afford several different treatments she and her husband need. Coley said Medicare only partially covers the prescriptions she uses and her daughter, who has asthma and serious allergies, has no coverage at all. She said her family has been without coverage for almost a year after premiums got too high.

Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, said expanding Medicaid as the group advocates is "an absurd exercise to take." He called the idea of federal money flowing into the state baseless, saying the federal government would only incur more debt by expanding the program. Emery said his family lacked medical insurance when his children were young, and he never once thought the government should cover his needs.