Our Coronavirus Plan for the Attorney General
We desperately need leadership in Missouri. Our state is particularly vulnerable to the Coronavirus. Missouri is one of a few states that has refused to expand Medicaid, stranding over 200,000 Missourians without access to affordable care, requiring several rural hospitals to close, and leaving many more in dire financial circumstances.
Missouri has also yet to offer widespread voting by mail and is still governed by outdated voting laws. This leaves our democratic system particularly vulnerable.
And Missouri has divested from our public institutions. Our unemployment system, support for our first responders, funding for critical infrastructure, and workplace protections are all in bad shape.
The Attorney General plays a critical role in our state’s response to the Coronavirus. From enforcing our access to affordable health care, to going after scammers, to protecting our right to vote, to holding our other officials accountable, the Attorney General needs to work with our other officials to ensure Missourians are served.
Here’s our Coronavirus plan for the Attorney General:
- Suspend collections on debts owed to the state. Missourians are incredibly stretched financially right now. Our state should not make the situation worse. Other Attorneys General have suspended state debt collections. Our Attorney General should do the same.
- Protect our right to vote. We’ve got a plan for that.
- Go after insurance companies that refuse to cover COVID-19 testing. The federal government is requiring this coverage. Our Attorney General needs to enforce the law.
- Combat consumer and health care price gouging. This not only includes exorbitant prices for toilet paper, but also steep charges for health care equipment that companies are charging our state. Our Attorney General should work with Attorneys General across the country to share information and monitor this threat.
- End debtors’ prisons immediately. Coronavirus outbreaks in jails and prisons have been particularly devastating to inmates and staff. We need to reduce this risk as much as possible and, with technology, we can keep track of folks much more easily than ever before. Moreover, there is no excuse for Missourians to be locked in jail just because they don’t have money. We have already proposed a plan to end debtors’ prisons.
- Enforce workplace protections. We have first responders, grocery clerks, pharmacists, truck drivers, agricultural workers, construction workers, and so many others dealing with increased risks. Our Attorney General should protect them at work. We proposed multiple related plans for this too; the Attorney General should create and fully staff a Civil Rights Division.
- Protect vulnerable Missourians from discrimination. The United States is seeing an increase in discriminatory action against Asian Americans as a result of the Coronavirus. The Civil Rights Division should handle those incidents as well.
- Enforce housing rights. Our Attorney General is responsible for protecting our rights against exploitative landlords who illegally shut off water and heat. With even more Missourians facing financial uncertainty, our Attorney General needs to take his responsibility seriously.
- End Missouri’s participation in a lawsuit designed to eliminate Medicaid coverage for millions of vulnerable Americans. We need to increase access to affordable care, not decrease it.
- Watch nonprofit scams. Unfortunately, some folks take advantage of disasters to start fake charities and scam Missourians. Our Attorney General needs to educate Missourians and investigate fake charities.
- Develop a consumer protection app to educate Missourians about their rights, issue PSAs about the Coronavirus, and allow Missourians to more easily report issues to the Attorney General. We’ve proposed this app to combat scams in general.
- Uphold Missouri’s Sunshine Law. Just recently, we stopped the state legislature from demolishing Missouri’s public-records-access law and worked with members of both parties to preserve transparency and protect public safety. Transparency is so important, especially now, because we need to be able to trust our government. We need an Attorney General who stands up for transparency.
- Help local governments transition to online and phone-conference meetings so they can comply with Missouri’s Sunshine Law.
- Coordinate a statewide volunteer corps to support nonprofit organizations and Missourians, especially those on the frontlines of Coronavirus response.
- Ask the People of Missouri how the Attorney General can help and be there, no matter what.
We need leadership in Missouri. We have the opportunity to save lives and show other states how to deal with the Coronavirus. Our elected officials have to step up, and we need to hold them accountable. Please call your state representative, our Attorney General, our Secretary of State, and our Governor and ask them to do their jobs.
Elad Gross is a candidate for Missouri Attorney General and former Assistant Attorney General of Missouri. You can join our efforts to serve the public at EladGross.org.