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The Social Welfare Board sees patients who would be potentially impacted from Medicaid expansion.

Medicaid expansion is moving closer to being on the ballot in Missouri after the Missouri Nurses Association endorsed expansion.

Some local officials are in support of expanding Medicaid. Linda Judah, executive director for the Social Welfare board, said Medicaid expansion would benefit Buchanan County and the Social Welfare Board. The Social Welfare board currently provides health care for those making under $12 an hour.

“There are so many uninsured folks living in Buchanan County, so if Medicaid were to expand, that would positively impact around 10,000 county residents,” Judah said. “They would finally have access to health care that would tend to preventative issues.”

Rep. Jim Neely, R-Cameron, is a doctor at Cameron Regional Medical Center as well a state representative. He said with the coronavirus he is concerned about cuts in Medicaid and the impact that has on hospitals with people showing up in emergency rooms and clinics.

“My biggest concern as a physician is with the cutbacks in Medicaid that are going on,” Neely said. “Cameron hospital, for one, I think they’re $2 million short from the state of Missouri.”

Judah said that Medicaid expansion could allow the Social Welfare Board to continue to grow programs and allocate money to provide more resources.

“The expansion of Medicaid would be a win-win for everybody living in poverty, as it would provide them the ability to access affordable health care,” Judah said “Health care is a right and we should be able to afford our neighbors with that right, regardless of their income status.”

Neely said that people want to talk about those people who have viruses, but he said the state needs to be taking care of the people who do the work in the health care industry. He said that Medicaid should not be in the hands of private enterprise. He said he was concerned about hospitals getting reimbursements from Medicaid.

“Let’s simplify how we do business. Don’t make it so complicated and convoluted,” Neely said.

Judah said that the health care system is hurt by not expanding Medicaid.

“By not expanding Medicaid, it just puts a strain on the big health care system,” Judah said. “Some rural hospitals are closing because they don’t have enough Medicaid reimbursements to support their operations,” Judah said.

Clayton Anderson can be reached at clayton.anderson@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowAnderson.