By Carolyn Foat
Special to The Globe
WEBB CITY, Mo. —
I can’t help but think how many complaints would be heard today if this country had not moved to sensibly extend access to and responsibility for health care through the Affordable Care Act.
We would be hearing “How dare our country ignore the health care needs of so many!” or “How dare the rest of us have to pay the health care costs of those who don’t pay!”
Instead, we are hearing, “How dare the government force people who have previously skipped out on buying health insurance to actually purchase it!” This mandate idea, by the way, was first proposed in the late 80s by the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation, which later helped Gov. Mitt Romney develop the plan for Massachusetts.
Not only does the mandate insist that citizens take personal responsibility for their health care, it also demands accountability of the health care companies to their customers for the quality of care provided. Perhaps you recognize personal responsibility and accountability as hallmarks of conservative thought.
Even if you still resent the law, here’s a reality check: By adopting the new extensions of Medicaid, Missouri, like the rest of the country, will be better able to address the health care needs of working adults with low incomes. These health care services would actually lower costs by reducing emergency room visits and unpaid medical bills — bills that are paid by those who do pay. If enacted, this law is projected to create thousands of new jobs and could generate as much as $885 million in tax revenues in our state.
Our cost? Never more than $1 for every $10 received. We can afford this — we can’t afford not to.
The residents of Missouri expect our legislators to make sound decisions. Don’t let a couple of disgruntled legislators “cut off our noses to spite their faces.” Let your legislators know they must support Medicaid expansion in Missouri.