Debbie Lalicker

Lee’s Summit

To the editor:

Now is the time for lawmakers to craft a Medicaid reform and expansion plan for Missouri. After significant work throughout the summer by both the Missouri Senate and Missouri House of Representatives, a strong case has been made for progress.

Missourians have already seen what the future holds for the state’s health-care system if a Medicaid plan is not adopted. Since last session, hospitals throughout the state have tightened their belts, eliminating service lines, delaying capital investments and reducing staff. Without action, hospitals will continue to reduce their services and some hospitals could close.

New research from the University of Missouri underscores the importance of hospitals to the state’s economy and the fabric of communities throughout the state. This research builds on earlier studies that make a strong economic argument for the benefits of Medicaid reform.

Lawmakers must find a path forward. Inaction means we will pay the costs directly through our tax dollars supporting reform in other states and indirectly as the health of our communities and workforce continues its 20-year decline.