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In 6 powerful minutes, Deb Lavender reminds us why MO needs Medicaid expansion

Representative Deb Lavender is responsible for the best six minutes of the legislative session thus far.

On Tuesday, Rep. Lavender shared stories of real Missourians from across the state who are being harmed by the inaction of the legislature on Medicaid expansion.

Listen to her meaningful words here:

And here's a glimpse of Missourians she mentioned that fall into the coverage gap:

Arielle is a 31-year-old woman from Joplin who is the mother of two sons, who has severe disability and autism, and is a survivor of the tornado in Joplin. She lost everything. And because her son has severe disabilities and requires a significant amount of care Ariel was unable to work full-time to get any benefits. After finally getting her son covered through Medicaid, she was able to hire a worker to take care of her son which allowed her to work part-time and go to school full-time. Her employer does not provide health insurance and expansion of Medicaid would help her greatly.


A veteran from Douglas County in his late 30s served our country in Iraq. Now that he’s back at home, he’s studying aviation mechanics. And although he can get treatment from VA hospitals, his wife, Shannon, needs health insurance. She works at a restaurant and volunteers with Boy Scouts. She needs medication for a lung condition that makes her susceptible to infection and pneumonia. Their family cannot afford her medication. As a result, her healthcare has suffered. This family would benefit from expansion.


A young lady in her 30s from Washington County lives with her four children. Almost nine years ago she was involved in a serious car accident that crushed three of her vertebrae in her spine. In the past, she’d received coverage from Medicaid, but lost her coverage when she got a part-time job. So she got a part- time job so now she doesn’t qualify. Her son also suffers from some disabilities. Expanding Medicaid would help her family.


A 48-year-old person in Greene County has no form of insurance... Almost four years ago they found a growth growing on her ovaries. Shortly after her diagnosis she lost her job and no longer has insurance to cover her surgery... She lost her apartment, her healthcare, her access to her medication. Without a dependent child, this woman cannot qualify for Medicaid. She said, “I am not ready to give up on myself and be disabled; I want to work and I’m not able to without health insurance.”


A young gentleman from Laurence County lives with his wife. He has Type I diabetes and recently lost his job. While employed he was lucky enough to have insurance, and now he worries about running out of his medication that will keep him healthy. If he we able to qualify for Medicaid or other affordable insurance coverage, his life would be better.


A gentleman in his 60s from Howell County lives with his wife [who] has Medicare, he does not. He can’t even remember having insurance. He works every night delivering newspapers in a county, but because he has diabetes he manages it fairly well, but he’s just scraping by. If he was able to have insurance, he would be able to afford his coverage much better. Let me remind you, he works every night.


A 46-year-old from Iron County... is a healthcare aid who recently adopted a grandson to give him a better life... Her monthly income is $1,200 a month. Unfortunately, this bit of money makes her ineligible for Medicaid in our state. Her husband is over 65 and has Medicare, but she’s stuck in that coverage gap and has no insurance. Bertha has her share of health insurances: including diabetes and heart problems both of which require daily medication. Expanding Medicaid would help this family.


A 40-year-old in Jefferson County is a single working mother. She does not have health insurance because her $10,000 annual salary is too much to qualify her for Medicaid. She currently pays $80 each month for prescriptions—money she wishes could go toward feeding her 5-year-old son.


A breast cancer survivor in Camden County lives with her husband, daughter, and grandson. They’ve just adopted and they are raising four children...this woman has serious health issues ...and would benefit from Medicaid expansion.


A 63-year-old gentleman from Hickory County... has worked his entire life in labor-intensive jobs for construction companies, sawmills, and for the railroad. He’s now retired and living with intense back pain. Aside from back pain he also has high blood pressure and a recurring growth on his arms, without insurance. He cannot get it through the marketplace; his premium would be $425 a month. This gentleman would benefit from expanding Medicaid.


A 50-year-old woman in Douglas County lacks affordable quality health insurance has prevented her from accessing medical care. This family would benefit from Medicaid expansion.


A 40-year-old woman who lives in Springfield was born with neurological damage. She graduated from college, found fulfilling work as a caregiver for people with disabilities. Her conditions make full-time work nearly impossible, but she is able to work part-time for minimum wage. She earned $7,000 last year. But, one trip to the hospital cost her over $1,000 even after a charitable write-off. As a single woman without children Jackie is uninsurable because she is not eligible for Medicaid. She struggles for her medications and healthcare. She would benefit from Medicaid expansion.


A 58-year-old woman from Pulaski County. Her husband became sick a few years ago. She left her job to take care of him. Since then, she’s had a difficult time finding employment. She makes ends meet with a small pension of $435 a month. Unfortunately, she does not qualify for Medicaid in Missouri. Her pension is too small to qualify her for healthcare insurance in the marketplace. Without health insurance she cannot afford quality healthcare. She would benefit from Medicaid expansion

Representative Deb Lavender is this week's hero. She shared the stories of Missourians who are harmed by the legislature's silence and inaction on Medicaid expansion. The people Deb talked about are our family members, our friends, our neighbors. The legislature needs to stop playing politics with Missouri lives. It's time to have the debate and expand Medicaid.