The Missouri vote took place as the state faced one of the largest increases in coronavirus infections and now reports an average of more than 1,200 new cases every day, almost three times more than a month ago. It is unclear whether the state rules for postal voting could have influenced voter turnout. As the state requires postal ballot papers to be certified, the organizers expected that most voters would vote on election day.
Republican governor Mike Parson, who is standing for re-election, rejected the election measure and said the state could not afford to expand reporting. Missouri’s Medicaid program has already increased enrollments almost 9 percent between February and May, among the largest increases nationwide.
The organizers of the election initiative focused on similar messages from other successful Medicaid expansion campaigns. They emphasized federal support for rural hospitals with financial difficulties after 1
“Frankly, Missourians are tired of not getting their fair share. They pay their taxes, they have seen 37 other states use this money to expand access to health care. Meanwhile, our economy has clearly struck here, ”said Jack Cardetti, spokesman for the campaign, last week.
The election measure inserts the Medicaid expansion into the state’s constitution and effectively prevents Republican lawmakers from including conservative elements – such as job requirements and bonuses – in the program, as other states have pursued similar initiatives.
The Democrats had accused Parson of trying to sabotage the election measure by planning to vote for Tuesday’s primary and not for the November general election if turnout would be higher. Parson said the planning was not politically motivated and necessary to understand whether the state would face new spending commitments during the coronavirus crisis.
What’s next: The election measure provides that Missouri Medicaid will expand until next July and officially notify the federal government by March 1.
There are now 12 states that are largely led by Republicans and have not yet expanded Medicaid. Virtually no one has indicated that it will give the program a fresh look due to the pandemic.