Missourians need Medicaid expansion

Andrew Schuette, Generate Health Ambassador Board member, had his Letter to the Editor published in the Joplin Globe last week:

Missourians need Medicaid expansion

Before joining Barnes-Jewish Hospital as an administrative fellow, I spent a decade caring for patients in Detroit, Boston, and St. Louis as a clinical audiologist.

Long before seeing my first patient, I learned why we need to vote “yes” on Amendment 2 to expand Medicaid on Aug. 4.

My childhood home sits on a gravel road in a rural Kentucky farming community. After hearing my father had cancer, my mother told me as a high school senior we’d have to exhaust my college savings to cover his treatment, even though he had employer-provided insurance.

I joined my father on his many trips to “town” for treatment; however, if he needed more advanced care, we would have been on the road for hours to go to an academic hospital.

Here in Missouri, trips to the doctor have gotten longer, as 10 rural hospitals have closed since 2014 because of the costs of uncompensated care. Expanding Medicaid would help keep our rural hospitals open.

Four years after his diagnosis, my father watched me accept a debt-free college diploma. My father’s care team and private/public scholarships are why I walked across that stage.

We all need help sometimes, and right now, thousands of Missourians need you. A family of three just like mine — whether my parents and me or my wife and son — is only eligible for Medicaid if they make less than $381 a month. One in 11 Missourians doesn’t have health insurance, let alone extra savings. This can lead to going without or delaying care. Expanding Medicaid would eliminate that choice for many working Missourians.

My family’s story had a happy ending; however, many uninsured Missourians aren’t so lucky. On Aug. 4, you have the opportunity to provide coverage to at least 230,000 hardworking Missourians by expanding Medicaid. Please vote “yes” on Amendment 2.

Andrew Schuette

St. Louis

 

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