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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Former U.S. Sen. Kit Bond has been hired by a state business association to lobby his fellow Republicans in the state Legislature in support of a Medicaid expansion.

Bond's lobbying firm is being paid by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Chamber President Dan Mehan says the group hopes to capitalize on Bond's reputation and political connections to persuade reluctant Republican lawmakers that Medicaid expansion is a good idea.

Missouri's Republican-led Legislature has repeatedly rejected calls to extend Medicaid eligibility to an estimated 300,000 additional lower-income adults. The expansion has been backed by Gov. Jay Nixon and his fellow Democratic lawmakers.

States that expand Medicaid eligibility can receive enhanced federal payments under the terms of President Barack Obama's health care law.

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