We welcome last week's endorsement of Amendment 2 by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The issue — Medicaid expansion — will be on the ballot Aug. 4.
Calling it a "pro-jobs measure that will help fuel economic growth throughout our state," the chamber's support helps dispel criticism that Medicaid expansion will be bad for jobs, bad for the economy and therefore bad for Missouri.
Instead, the chamber cited a report by the Missouri Foundation for Health, which found:
• Over a five-year period (2022-2026), the increase in federal funding will help create 16,330 jobs, with nearly two-thirds of those occurring outside of Kansas City and St. Louis.
• The majority of those jobs "would pay well above minimum wage, with 87.8% in industries paying real wages of at least $15 per hour to full-time workers."
• Medicaid expansion would boost the state's economic output by $2.5 billion, its gross domestic product by $1.6 billion and lead to a rise in state personal income of $1.1 billion.
"Ultimately, this analysis finds that Medicaid expansion would have substantial positive impacts on Missouri’s economy," the study concluded.
Daniel P. Mehan, the state chamber's president and CEO, said in making the endorsement last week: “While this data makes a clear case for passing Amendment 2, the benefits of Medicaid expansion are even more significant during this time of economic hardship. Let’s not miss this chance to bolster our economy during this recovery while expanding access to health care for our fellow Missourians.”
He also noted a 2019 study by the Center for Health Economics and Policy at Washington University that concluded Medicaid expansion could save the state as much as $1.3 billion by 2026.
In truth, the chamber's support is not new. It has been after lawmakers to do this for years, even at one point hiring former Republican Gov. and U.S. Sen. Kit Bond to lobby on behalf of Medicaid expansion.
Amendment 2 also has been endorsed by a number of groups, including the Missouri chapter of the NAACP, the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians, the Missouri Catholic Conference and more.
We've already argued that expanding Medicaid will be good for Missourians, and good for hospitals and the health care industry.
The chamber's endorsement reminds Missourians that this is not a partisan issue. It is simply what's best for the state.