Earlier this month, a frightening phalanx of “avowed socialists” went door-to-door in our state. They wore white coats to conceal their true colors, but you can bet their underwear was red with a hammer and sickle embroidered on the crotch.

Who were these uniformed radicals pushing half-baked, socialist ideas in unsuspecting neighborhoods?

They were medical doctors, including pediatrician Kayce Morton, who told Springfield TV Station KYKY that Missouri is one of only 12 states left in America that hasn’t expanded Medicaid.

The Medicaid expansion became an option during the Obama Administra-tion nine years ago under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Republicans in the state legislature demonized the ACA, said “no” to the expansion of health care, and sued the federal government for pushing such a half-baked, socialist idea on good, red, white, and blue Mizzourah.

Like other doctors in white lab coats, Dr. Morton was gathering signatures for Medicaid expansion to be on a November 2020 ballot. Polls show Missourians support health care expansion. A state “will of the people” vote might easily override obstinance in Jefferson City.

Doctors like Morton point out that expansion is not only about saving lives, it’s about saving hospitals. Nine rural facilities have closed in the last five years. They put the blame on the financial burden of uncompensated care.

State health associations note that tens of thousands of patients needing help are actually hard-working people. But along comes a hefty medical bill and it sinks them. More than 65 percent of bankruptcies in America are attributed to costly family health care woes.

Webster Groves doctor William Fogarty has been collecting signatures and says the effort has surpassed 25 percent of the 172,000 needed to put the issue on the ballot.

Fogarty told a group assembled at the Webster Groves Library that Missouri taxpayers are subsidizing 38 other states that use federal funds for their Medicaid expansion. Is this a socialist scheme? People are tiring of the use of the word “socialism” as a political scare word.

Fogarty explained that Medicaid and Medicare are not socialized medicine, but privately-delivered health care paid for by a government program.

Fogarty of Physicians for a National Health Program said public health care is pro-free enterprise. A common sense program will allow businesses to get back to business, instead of worrying every year about co-pays, deductibles and choosing coverage for employees.

There is a plan now in Congress to make Nov. 3, 2020, an election holiday to encourage more voting. A holiday voting day could mean more voters go to state polls to approve the Medicaid expansion in Missouri. Of course, U.S. Senate leader Mitch McConnell has already labeled the election holiday idea as, what else – “a radical, half-baked, socialist proposal.”

WashU Kicks In

Washington University has kicked in to help support Medicaid expansion in Missouri. The school contributed $250,000 on Nov. 15 to help the effort that would place the issue on next year’s November ballot.

The check to the advocacy group, Missourians for Healthcare, came from Chancellor Andrew Martin and Dean David Perlmutter of the School of Medicine. They issued a joint letter supporting the proposal.

“For those dealing with serious illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease, access to medical care is often a matter of life or death,” the letter noted. “Every day, we see patients at the Medical Campus who arrive with late-stage terminal illnesses that might have been prevented with earlier treatment.”

Opponents in Missouri’s Republican- controlled statehouse contend the state would have to cut education if the program is approved, but several studies say savings through expansion would outpace costs. Voters in other states, including Utah, Nebraska and Maine, have chosen to expand Medicaid in defiance of Republicans in their states who’ve resisted expansion.