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Report: MO Making Life And Death Decisions With The Rising Uninsured?

April 2, 2009

Kansas City, MO - Richard Green is just one of the 1.5 million people uninsured in Missouri, according to a new report from Families USA. He has multiple sclerosis and was laid off after twenty years in the trucking industry, and was cut from Medicaid when he received his first check for disability. Green says $1400 a month just barely keeps him and his three kids under one roof, and it's not enough to even buy his monthly medications.

Green is frustrated that he put his hard-earned dollars into the tax kitty and now can't make a withdrawal for treatment for his MS. He says there’s a consequence to cutting basic health care needs to Missourians.

"People are dying because of chronic illness; you're going to have people become more depressed and develop mental illness. It's just a downward slope when you start taking away money from the basic needs of people's health."

The report states more than half of Missourians with incomes below $42,000 went without health insurance at some point in 2007 and 2008.

The Families USA report also says that more than three-quarters of the state's uninsured were in working families. Tina Power has worked since she was 16; that is, until two months ago, when she was laid off. Her seven-year-old is covered by Medicaid, but she is doing without any insurance and can't find work. Power says she isn't looking for handouts, but she is looking for direction from the government.

"Make it a little bit easier on us; it's not that we want to be out of work and it's not that we don't want to have health insurance. We just need to know where we can turn to."

Families USA reports that almost 87 million Americans were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008.

The Missouri House has rejected a proposal to expand health coverage to 35,000 more people by using federal stimulus dollars in its version of the state budget. The Senate is expected to take up the budget in the next two weeks.

More on the report is at families.usa.org


Laura Thornquist, Public News Service - MO