Missourians on Tuesday spoke their minds on Medicaid expansion.
More than 53% of those who went to the polls endorsed it.
We urge lawmakers to accept that as the will of the people and move on.
We've seen too many recent instances where voters have spoken their minds — unambiguously — only to hear some lawmakers argue that the public has been hoodwinked, that voters didn't understand what they were doing, that lawmakers know best and it is up to them to set things right for the good of everyone.
• Like Right to Work: Two years ago, in August 2018, Missourians went to the polls and by a margin of nearly 7-3 rejected a right-to-work measure. Lawmakers that spring had passed a right-to-work measure and former Gov. Eric Greitens signed it into law, but unions took their case directly to the people, gathering more than 300,000 signatures to force a statewide vote. Despite that lopsided result, some Republican lawmakers vowed to resurrect the issue soon afterward, and no doubt it will be discussed in the next legislative session.
• Like Clean Missouri: Clean Missouri was a constitutional amendment that enacted long-needed lobbying reforms as well as tighter campaign finance limits, and most controversially, it also created a new redistricting process. More than 62% of voters approved. Before the final votes were even in, some lawmakers said voters just didn't understand the issue and had bought a pig in a poke. Lawmakers proposed their own alternative, which will appear as Amendment 3 on the November ballot, but already some of the state's Republicans leaders — most notably John Danforth — are urging voters to reject it and stick with Clean Missouri.
• Like Minimum Wage: A similar tale unfolded for the minimum wage increase that went before voters in November 2018 and was passed — again by with an approval rate 62%. It raises the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2023. Come January, some lawmakers were working to repeal it.
As for Medicaid expansion, we say: Leave it alone.
It was just last fall that Missouri Gov. Mike Parson vowed to uphold the will of the voters.
“If the people of the state of Missouri — that is their will and they vote to do that — that’s what I’m supposed to do is uphold the will of the people of this state, and that’s what I intend to do regardless of whether I agree with the issue or whether I don’t."
We urge him to remember his pledge.