Steve Marks

Steve Marks

Marks Media

It’s long past time to improve health care access to our state’s most vulnerable populations.

For nearly a decade, Missourians have waited to expand Medicaid and join the 36 states that already have done so. Our state’s inaction has left more than 200,000 people with limited access to care.

This inaction also means that Missourians have been paying the bill for expanded Medicaid in other states while receiving nothing in return. At some point, we have to say enough. We have to start standing up for the needs of our communities here in Missouri.

As a business owner, I can tell you just how expensive health care is in our state. Many small businesses can’t afford to provide insurance to their workers, and thousands of hardworking farmers, small business employees, single parents and near-retirees can’t afford to see a doctor right now. These Missourians earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to be able to afford life-saving care. Often, they have to choose between health care for themselves, paying the rent or putting food on the table for their families.

That’s just not right, and it’s why I support putting Medicaid expansion on the ballot.

It’s time to let Missourians decide if we want to help these families get access to care, keep our rural hospitals open, create thousands of jobs and pump billions of dollars into our economy — something that will benefit all of us.

The ballot measure is transparent and is available online for all to see — so is the study done by researchers at Washington University that found that Medicaid expansion will save the state money as we get more of our tax dollars back. That same study found that it will be cheaper for Missouri to cover many of the people who already are on Medicaid, helping to generate as much as $932 million in savings by 2024.

Medicaid expansion isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the fiscally responsible thing to do. Missouri voters deserve the chance to decide.

Steve Marks is CEO and president of Marks Media in St. Joseph.