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Examiner
  • GOP rejects Medicaid expansion plan

  • Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature dealt a triple defeat Wednesday to a Medicaid expansion plan as Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon continued to travel the state trying to rally support for an enlarged health-care program for lower-income adults.

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  • Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature dealt a triple defeat Wednesday to a Medicaid expansion plan as Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon continued to travel the state trying to rally support for an enlarged health-care program for lower-income adults.
    In successive party-line votes, the Senate Appropriations Committee defeated legislation authorizing a Medicaid expansion after listening to more than two dozen witnesses in favor of it. Then the House Budget Committee defeated two amendments that would have added the Medicaid expansion to the next state budget.
    The votes marked the third, fourth and fifth times within the past several weeks that Republican lawmakers have rejected the Medicaid expansion called for under President Barack Obama’s health care law. But Wednesday’s votes came with a bit of an exclamation mark, because they occurred on the same day Nixon was holding press conferences in support of the expansion in the rural communities of Chillicothe and Farmington.
    Legislation by Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, sought to implement the Medicaid expansion with a provision that would automatically halt it if the federal government failed to follow through on promised funding.
    But Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said it wasn’t politically realistic to accept the federal money, add thousands of people to the government-funded health care program and then kick them off after several years.
    LeVota said he was thankful for the public hearing but disappointed in the Republicans’ quick rejection of the bill. The vote occurred immediately after the end of a public testimony period in which doctors, hospital officials, patients, business leaders and health advocates all testified for the bill. Only one person spoke against it.
    “When you have the level of support for this bill that was demonstrated today, you would think the politics would go the other way at some point,” LeVota said.

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