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Since New Year’s Day, Missouri taxpayers have spent $115 million and counting - $5.47 million a day - to improve and reform health care in other states, like Arkansas and Arizona, New Jersey and Iowa, Michigan and North Dakota. This adds up to $2 billion, or $500 for every Missouri taxpayer, every year.

Each day we don’t act, these states use Missourians’ tax dollars to implement innovative reforms, like rewards for making healthier lifestyle choices and penalties for missing doctors’ appointments.

Each day we don’t act, Missouri’s Medicaid system continues as it has for years, without additional protections for taxpayers, or new measures to promote personal responsibility.

Each day we don’t act, thousands of Missouri women aren’t getting the preventive health care they need to detect breast or cervical cancer early - while there’s still time to treat it.

And each day we don’t act, nearly 300,000 working Missourians go another day without the treatment they desperately need, for no other reason than they live in Branson instead of Bentonville, in Cape Girardeau instead of Cairo, in Maryville instead of Muscatine.

And if you don’t see these folks knocking on your doors or lighting up your phone lines, it’s because they don’t have time. They’re working to pay the bills and make ends meet.

We all know there are problems with Obamacare, and Washington’s implementation of it has been abysmal.

But rejecting Medicaid won’t fix any of those things. It won’t keep Missourians from having to pay federal taxes, or exempt our businesses from new requirements under the law.

Instead, by standing still, we’re making the things we don’t like about Obamacare even worse, forcing Missourians to bear all the costs of this law - and reap none of the benefits.

Think about that.

The people who are suffering now as a result of our failure to act don’t work in the White House - they work the night shift in our factories. They wait tables and scrub floors. They drive snow plows and look after our kids.

Right now, hundreds of thousands of these working Missourians can’t afford to get the basic health services they need to lead healthy, productive lives.

They’re folks like Anita Sutherland from Van Buren. Anita was a home health care worker who now works part-time at Head Start.

Being uninsured has already taken a toll. A year ago, Anita was diagnosed with uterine cancer and had to leave her full time job. Since then, she’s racked up over $100,000 in medical bills, and is suffering from complications of her cancer treatment. Today, buried in a mountain of debt and unable to afford the medical care she needs, Anita doesn’t see a way out. She feels hopeless.

But when we strengthen Medicaid, Anita will be covered. She’ll be able to get the treatment she needs and go back to working full time. She’ll have hope.

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