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Government, Politics & Issues

Politically Speaking: Rep. LaDonna Appelbaum On Medicaid Expansion And Other Missouri Issues

State Rep. LaDonna Appelbaum, D, St. Louis County
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
State Rep. LaDonna Appelbaum, D, St. Louis County, poses for a portrait in the St. Louis Public Radio studios.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie O’Donoghue and Jaclyn Driscoll welcome state Rep. LaDonna Appelbaum to Politically Speaking for the first time. The discussion includes the Democrat's efforts to improve health care.

Appelbaum represents Missouri’s 71st House District, which takes in portions of Chesterfield, Creve Coeur, Maryland Heights, Olivette, Overland and unincorporated St. Louis County. She was first elected in 2018.

Here’s what Appelbaum talked about on the show:

  • How her experience with health insurance prompted her to get more involved in the political arena. In the middle of the decade, Appelbaum was diagnosed with breast cancer — and noted how obtaining insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchange was crucial for her health.
  • She also talked about her support for Medicaid expansion, which Missouri voters could decide during the 2020 election.
  • Appelbaum was asked about what surprised her about serving in the Missouri House. She compared what happens on the floor of the House to an opera, noting that members are not allowed to refer to each other by name — but rather the “gentleman from St. Louis County” or the “lady from Jefferson County.”
  • She said she was hopeful that lawmakers would finally pass legislation setting up a prescription drug monitoring program. Missouri is the only state without the program, which is aimed at stemming opioid abuse.

Appelbaum is an Arkansas native who grew up in Springfield, Missouri. She received her bachelor’s degree in athletic training and sports medicine. Before running for office, Appelbaum worked in orthopedic medical sales.
After Sue Meredith decided against running for re-election, Appelbaum faced Boris Abadzhyan in the 2018 Democratic primary. She ended up winning that race by over 70 percentage points — which was tantamount to election in the heavily Democratic district.

Politically Speaking

The podcast is sponsored by the St. Louis-based law firm of Capes Sokol

Follow Julie O’Donoghue on Twitter: @jsodonoghue

Follow Jaclyn Driscoll on Twitter: @DriscollNPR

Music: “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John

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