Missouri’s vote came as the state faced one of the largest increases in coronavirus infections and now reports on average more than 1,200 new cases per day, almost three times more than a month ago . It is not known whether the state’s rules regarding postal voting could have affected the turnout. Since the state requires postal ballots to be notarized, organizers expected most voters to go to the polls on election day.
Re-elected Republican Governor Mike Parson opposed the voting measure, saying the state could not afford the extension of coverage. Missouri’s Medicaid program has already seen enrollments increase almost 9 percent between February and May, ranking among the largest increases nationally.
The organizers of the voting initiative focused on similar messages from other successful Medicaid expansion campaigns. They pointed to federal support it would give cash-strapped rural hospitals, after 10 of them have closed since 2014 and others face financial peril. The federal government provides 90 percent of the funding for the expansion of Medicaid, more generous than the 65 percent rate Missouri receives for its existing program.
“Frankly, the Missourians are tired of not getting their fair share. They pay their taxes, they have now seen 37 other states use that money to expand access to health care. Meanwhile, our economy is clearly struggling here, ”campaign spokesperson Jack Cardetti said last week.
The voting measure adds the expansion of Medicaid into the state’s constitution, effectively preventing Republican lawmakers from adding conservative elements to the program – like job requirements and bonuses – as other states have sought to. do as a result of similar initiatives.
Democrats had accused Parson of trying to sabotage the ballot measure by scheduling the vote for Tuesday’s primaries, rather than the November general election, when turnout would be higher. Parson said the timeline was not politically motivated and was needed to understand whether the state would face new spending commitments during the coronavirus crisis.
And after: The voting measure requires Missouri to expand Medicaid by next July and officially notify the federal government by March 1.
There are now 12 states, most of them led by Republicans, that have yet to expand Medicaid. Virtually none have indicated that they will give the program a new look due to the pandemic.