COVID-19 Shines a Spotlight on the Need for Medicaid Expansion in Missouri

APRIL 21, 2020 | BY: BOB HUGHES, Missouri Foundation for Health President and CEO

COVID-19 presents two massive challenges for our society. The first is the direct challenge to our health. The second is the challenge to our economy from the collective measures undertaken to prevent or slow the spread of the disease. Both challenges highlight the extensive inequities in our population’s health, health insurance, and health care systems. In particular, COVID-19 has put the patchwork nature of our health insurance system in stark relief, highlighting coverage gaps, barriers to getting health insurance, and, even for people fortunate enough to have insurance, the obstacles to paying for the care they need. This pandemic lays bare the fault lines of inequity in health care, revealed most powerfully in the woefully inadequate, maddingly unnavigable, thicket of health insurance. The threat and spread of COVID-19 provides impetus to do something practical as quickly as possible – get more people health insurance by expanding Medicaid. There is an extensive body of evidence that documents the benefits of Medicaid expansion for Missouri. The pandemic brings clarity, urgency, and greater recognition that we are all in this together and that the health of one impacts us all.

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