Missouri hospitals on Wednesday helped launch a campaign put Medicaid expansion on the ballot in November 2020.
Backers estimate that more than 200,000 uninsured Missourians could qualify for Medicaid if the state expands eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. And hospital leaders are citing rural hospital closures to try to rally support.
"Hospital closures in rural communities have increased the distance to lifesaving care for Missourians suffering from traumatic injuries, stroke and heart attack," said Herb Kuhn, CEO of the Missouri Hospital Association.
Nine rural Missouri hospitals have closed since 2014.
The campaign, which is backed by nurses, doctors, hospitals, business executives and healthcare advocates, is called Healthcare for Missouri. Wednesday's announcement followed an exploratory period over the summer where advocates weighed whether to pursue a ballot initiative.
The campaign needs more than 172,000 signatures to qualify their measure for the ballot.
Idaho, Nebraska and Utah voters approved similar ballot measures in 2016, although the state governments in Idaho and Utah have been trying to trim their own expansion programs. The federal government has rejected their efforts so far.
All told, 36 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid.