Missouri voters stood up for public health on Tuesday and passed a ballot measure to increase access to health insurance coverage for more Missourians through the state’s Medicaid program, following on the heels of Oklahomans who made the same move at the end of June. This vote to increase access to the Medicaid program will improve health outcomes and reduce cancer disparities for more than 230,000 citizens who will be able to enroll in coverage in 2021.
The measure passed with a majority of voters responding "yes" to Amendment 2, which asked if Medicaid should be fully expanded to low-income parents and adults earning less than $17,500 a year as permitted under the federal health law.
The following is a statement from Lisa Lacasse, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) president.
“This is an incredible victory for public health in Missouri, where more than 1 in 10 residents are currently uninsured. According to American Cancer Society research, uninsured rates in Medicaid expansion states fell from nearly 10 to about 3.5 percent between 2011-2014. This decline in the number of uninsured also resulted in a statistically significant shift toward early stage diagnosis in common cancers like, lung, breast and colon, when cancers are less expensive to treat and survival is more likely. ACS studies have found, for instance, low-income women were 25% more likely to adhere to screening guidelines in expansion states than in non-expansion states. With this vote, Missourians have elected to save lives and long-term health care costs.
“ACS CAN is grateful to all our staff and volunteers in Missouri who worked tirelessly to encourage their fellow Missourians to vote yes on Amendment 2 and commends the voters for standing up for the health of their neighbors, family and friends.”
When the initiative goes into effect, Missouri will join the 37 other states, and the District of Columbia, who have increased access to their Medicaid programs to cover more low-income residents.