Missouri Medicaid Coalition holds day of action at capitol

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Medicaid Coalition held Medicaid Day of Action at the state capitol Wednesday. They continue to fight for Medicaid expansion in the state.

Michelle Trupiano, director of the coalition, said a focus of the day was getting healthcare providers in front of lawmakers to advocate the importance of expansion. She said the group wanted to shed light on the issue of the Medicaid coverage gap. 

The coverage gap refers to the group of people who do not qualify for Medicaid coverage, but also can not afford to pay for insurance on their own. That number is around 300,000 Missourians, according to Trupiano and various studies. 

Opponents of Medicaid expansion have said that it would be too expensive, and putting money into it would take money away from other state programs. 

Sarah Felts, Advocacy Coordinator for the Missouri Nurses Association, said she disagrees with that sentiment. She said expansion would actually save the state money, because of federal subsidies that reward states for expansion. She also said people without health coverage tend to not get regular checkups, which can lead to missed health problems.

"300,000 Missourians don't have access to healthcare other than the ER," Felts said. "If you see a provider every year, you are healthier and ultimately the state saves money because it does not have to cover those expensive emergency bills."

Trupiano said that the group peacefully protested in the capitol, as well as talked in small groups to lawmakers. 

She said that it all boils down to the point that lawmakers need to have this at the front of their minds, and it is past time to start having serious discussions on the matter. 

The University of Missouri conducted a study on the economic impact of Medicaid expansion which can be viewed here.