The Fairness Project and its partners in Missouri led the campaign to put Medicaid expansion into that state’s constitution last year. The voter-approved law requires Missouri to provide healthcare starting July 1 of this year, but Missouri Gov. Mike Parson recently announced he would attempt to ignore the constitutional requirement.

Today, a lawsuit was filed by three plaintiffs — all of whom are eligible for healthcare coverage under Medicaid expansion — to enforce the state’s constitutional obligation. The Fairness Project and its partners applaud the filing of this litigation.

“It’s time for the political stunt in Missouri to come to an end,” said Jonathan Schleifer. “Gov. Parson is not above the law and the state’s constitution is clear: Missouri must implement Medicaid expansion starting July 1.

“The governor’s effort to ignore the will of voters is a disgrace and will not be successful. In this country, the outcome of elections still matter, and we have great faith that the courts in Missouri will uphold the state’s constitution and stand up for that bedrock principle.”

The legislature funded Medicaid as part of its current budget, and the state does not break out funding for different groups of individuals based on the category of their Medicaid eligibility. Under Missouri’s constitution, individuals eligible for Medicaid expansion cannot be treated differently than any other Medicaid eligible population.

“The arguments made by the governor for abandoning his constitutional duty are complete nonsense,” Schleifer said. “It’s the equivalent of a child throwing a temper tantrum who can’t get his way.”

The Fairness Project has supported all six campaigns for Medicaid expansion that have been approved by voters at the ballot box. Oklahoma, which also approved expansion last summer, will begin implementing the program on June 1 of this year.