This past Saturday, March 28, Missouri Jobs with Justice and allies organized two actions to show support for Medicaid expansion while the Missouri Legislature is on spring break. Missouri legislators return to work Monday, March 30, so the message at our actions was – Break Time is OVER – its time to HAVE the DEBATE on Medicaid expansion. We need to close the Medicaid coverage gap in Missouri, and insure 300,000 Missourians who currently lack health insurance.
In Kirkwood, over 100 people turned out to Eliot Unitarian Church for a panel from faith leaders, doctors, and relatives of people who fall in the Medicaid coverage gap. Then we led a march through downtown Kirkwood to Senator Eric Schmitt’s in-district office. At Senator Schmitt’s office, faith leaders and doctors talked more about how important it is Missouri expands Medicaid from both a moral and health perspective. Studies show 700 people die every year in Missouri because Missouri hasn’t expanded its Medicaid program. At Senator Schmitt’s office, 22 volunteers participated in a “die-in” at Senator Schmitt’s office, symbolizing 22 people that died while the legislators were on spring break. Check out photos on MO JwJ’s Facebook page. Also, see two of the speakers, Dr. Ed Weisbart and Dr. Sonny Saggar, were featured in an KPLR piece about Medicaid expansion.
Saturday afternoon, two dozen people held a Visibility Action in Imperial, MO in Jefferson County, targeting Senator Paul Wieland. Senator Wieland. Activists held signs and large banners that said “Senator Wieland, Have the Debate, Expand Medicaid.” Supporters driving by honked in support of Medicaid expansion.
Missouri Jobs with Justice and the Missouri Medicaid Coalition will keep the pressure on our elected officials for the remainder of legislative session to close the Medicaid coverage gap by accepting the federal dollars and expanding Medicaid.