Missouri GOP justifies blocking voter-approved Medicaid expansion because 'rural Missouri said no'

Even though a majority of voters in Missouri last year voted to expand the state's Medicaid program, Republican legislators in the state have continued blocking funds for the expansion.

The Kansas City Star reports that Republicans in the state insist that the Medicaid expansion vote doesn't reflect the true will of the voters, even though 53 percent of voters supported it while 47 percent voted against it.

Republican Missouri State Rep. Sara Walsh even explicitly said that she was opposed to funding the voter-approved expansion because it did not win the support of rural voters, only a third of whom voted in favor of it.

"Rural Missouri said no," she said. "I don't believe it is the will of the people to bankrupt our state."

Additionally, the Kansas City Star writes that Republican State Rep. Ed Lewis argued that "despite that 53% of those who cast ballots in favor of expansion, the number did not amount to a majority of Missouri's eligible voters or population," and should thus be ignored by lawmakers.

The Medicaid expansion would be a major boon for rural areas in the state, and the Kansas City Star notes advocates say that it would deliver an "influx of federal dollars... to rural hospitals and the health care sector."