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Protesters block traffic near Capitol demanding Medicaid expansion

Missouri lawmakers heard from hundreds of protesters Thursday at the state Capitol.

They held signs demanding lawmakers pass a Medicaid expansion bill.

Missouri is one of about 20 states that didn’t sign on to the Medicaid expansion that was part of the Affordable Care Act.

Protesters blocked traffic near the Capitol to try to get legislators to listen to them.

The Missouri Medicaid Coalition said it was a call to action demanding expansion.

House Minority Leader Jake Hummel from St. Louis filed a bill in February that would expand Medicaid, but the bill hasn’t made it to the House floor.

“We’re talking about people who are the most vulnerable members of our society. Perhaps the GOP should change their initials to the COP and be the Cruel Old Party, but I certainly don’t think that the right way forward for the state is to hurt those of us who are the most vulnerable,” said Hummel.

Hummel is referring to those people who make too much money for Medicaid, but not enough to get subsidies from the Affordable Care Act.

Protesters said they want lawmakers to cover the people that fall into that gap.

To get their point to legislatures, they blocked traffic and marched around downtown Jefferson City.

Most Republican lawmakers said Medicaid expansion will not happen because the state can’t afford it. They agree the current system isn’t working, but call for Medicaid reform, not expansion.

Medicaid expansion failed to pass the state legislature in 2013 and 2014, but protesters said they are hopeful this year could be different.

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