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Missouri Voters To Decide Whether To Expand Medicaid

A voter fills out a ballot at Central Baptist Church in St. Louis on March 10, 2020.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has approved a petition to allow Missouri voters to decide whether to expand Medicaid.

Missouri voters will get a chance to expand Medicaid.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft announced Friday that he approved the petition to put Medicaid expansion on the November ballot.

Backers submitted more than 340,000 petition signatures, well over the number needed to qualify for a proposed constitutional amendment.

The amendment would expand Medicaid to people making 138% of the federal poverty level, which is a little less than $18,000 a year.

“We know access to health care is more important now than ever,” said A.J. Bockelman, campaign manager for Healthcare for Missouri. “Today’s certification is a testament to those from every corner of our state who came together to overwhelmingly place Medicaid expansion on the ballot so that 230,000 hardworking Missourians no longer have to choose between putting food on the table and being able to see a doctor.”

Supporters also say extending eligibility for the state-sponsored health insurance program would save the state money and help struggling hospitals, especially in rural areas. Opponents say it will end up costing the state more.

Ashcroft said he verified the signatures by using random sampling instead of sending them to local election officials because he did not want to burden officials so close to the June 2 municipal elections.

“After visiting all 116 election officials in the state over the last two weeks, I know we made the right decision,” Ashcroft said. “It would have created a tremendous amount of work for them at the same time they prepare for, conduct and certify their local election.”

Follow David on Twitter: @dpcazares

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David is the health, science and arts & culture editor for St. Louis Public Radio.