Parson, a Republican, announced Tuesday that he decided to move the Medicaid expansion issue from the November general election ballot to the lower-turnout August primary to get an answer on the issue from voters as soon as possible.
"I want to be clear," Parson said, "this was about policy, not politics. At a time when our state is undergoing a major health, economic and budget crisis, we need to know where we stand when it comes to a massive spending initiative in
"He knows that Medicaid expansion is more popular than he is in a general election," said
Thirty-six states have adopted Medicaid expansion, including several Republican-leaning states where voters approved ballot measures.
It was widely expected that the time needed to verify those signatures meant the issue would appear on the November ballot alongside the president, governor and all but one statewide elected official.
But last week, Secretary of State
Ashcroft said he used random sampling in order to avoid burdening local election authorities so close to a municipal election, which was moved from April to
It was the first time the method had been used in more than 20 years.
"We carefully considered whether to have local election officials conduct signature verification while they prepared for the
Parson, who has been outspoken in his opposition to expanding Medicaid coverage in
That is especially dangerous, Parson said, during a time when COVID-19 has punched a massive hole in the state's budget.
"Pass or fail," he said, "it is important we understand the implications of what would be a new spending bill out of our already depleted general revenue."
But Galloway believes Parson is just hoping to take Medicaid expansion off the table as an issue in the fall campaign.
"Now more than ever
Proponents of Medicaid expansion point to studies showing that it would not only provide health care to low-income Missourians, but it could also save money in the long run by drawing additional federal funding to cover a variety of health services currently paid for with state revenue.
According to one study by the
Proponents of expanded Medicaid coverage in
Moving the question to the August ballot is similar to what
That year, after labor unions rallied to gather enough signatures to place a question on the November ballot seeking to repeal right-to-work,
The move was seen as an effort to protect Republican candidates from an expected onslaught of union campaign spending and voter outreach.
In the end, labor unions spent more than
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