A self-employed carpenter from the Ozarks worries about what will happen to his fellow workers if Missouri continues to avoid expanding Medicaid health insurance coverage.
“I am talking about folks that are not by any means lazy. Carpenters, plumbers, roofers, home health aids, loggers, farmers … the list goes on,” said Tom Rowley, who owns Riverwood Stair Company in Willow Springs, Mo. “All sorts of folks around here simply do not earn enough to afford coverage.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government will pay to expand state Medicaid coverage to people with incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty level ($16,243 for an individual and $33,465 for a family of four) for the first few years, then states take over a proportion of the costs. Missouri is one of 19 states that has declined to expand Medicaid, citing those future costs. Gov. Jay Nixon and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce support expanding coverage to about 300,000 Missourians who are currently uninsured.
Rowley and some friends got together to film “The Healthcare Blues,” a music video promoting Medicaid expansion in Missouri. Rowley said he is grateful to have kept health insurance through the marketplace, but knows many people who fall into the coverage gap.
“I made this video during this election cycle because I am trying to reach people to educate them about this issue,” Rowley said. “I hope they will ask candidates about their stand on this. And I hope this issue will be on the minds of voters as they go to the polls.”
Somewhere in the Woods Productions helped with making the video, and St. Louis-based Missouri Healthcare For All provided some facts and statistics.