Missouri Lawmaker Suggests Woman Should Move Out of State for Medicaid Expansion

| by Michael Allen

Debbie Cole, a resident of Butler, Mo., recently signed a petition asking state lawmakers to extend Medicaid under Obamacare so that more low income/uninsured people in Missouri would have access to medical care.

“We all live different lives, and some people out there may be working two or three jobs and have no insurance, and they need it to survive,” Cole, who is a mom, told KBIA.

Cole then got a letter from a letter from Missouri State Senator Ed Emery (R) which stated:

We live in a nation and an era that facilitates physical moves between states. Individuals and families are free to consider moving to states with differing and even contrasting government policies. That is the beauty of federalism.

“Sincerely, I was surprised, the way it was worded,” said Cole. “It sounded like I was ignorant, and I could move out of the state of Missouri.”

However, Emery now claims that he didn't even suggest anyone should move out of the state.

“I don’t think there was anything in there suggesting anybody should move,” Emery told KCUR.

Emery then claimed all he meant was: “We’re free to move from state to state if a state has policies that we like versus policies that we don’t.”

In his letter to Cole, Emery also cited the "Oregon Medicaid experiment" as a reason to not expand Medicaid in Missouri.

Emery noted that "neither access nor health outcomes are improved" from the experiment, but failed to mention that Oregon's Medicaid experiment happened in 2008 before Obamacare was passed in 2009.

According to The Washington Post, Medicaid expansion under Obamacare didn't officially start until Jan. 1. 2014, although states were allowed to sign people up in 2013.

The Oregon Medicaid experiment was not a part of Obamacare, but was hampered by a lack of federal funding as it was a lottery for 10,000 people in a state where 90,000 were eligible, which is not how Medicaid expansion works under Obamacare.

Emery also claimed in his letter that uninsured people (who can't see a doctor presently or even afford health care) will be restricted by their lack of choice when it comes to doctors:

The state, not the individual, decides what treatments can be provided and by whom.

However, Emery didn't mention that doctors have a choice whether or not to accept Medicaid payments. From the doctors who do agree to accept Medicaid, the state gives those options to people on Medicaid who would otherwise not get medical care.

Left with no other arguments to make, Emery told Cole in his letter that she would have to research on her own "why Medicaid expansion is wrong for Missouri."

Sources: The Washington Post, KBIA, Wikipedia