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Missouri House passes plan to redirect money meant for Medicaid expansion

Missouri voters last year amended the state Constitution to expand Medicaid eligibility

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The GOP-led Missouri House on Thursday passed an alternative plan for spending funding initially meant for Medicaid expansion. 

House lawmakers voted 143-1 to send the proposal to the Senate, where Republican leaders have also voiced support for defunding Medicaid expansion. 

House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith said the spending plan represents "the prioritization of the people who are most needy in our state."

Instead of using the money to pay for thousands more low-income adults to access the government health care program, the House proposed spending most of the money on care for the elderly and people with disabilities.

Roughly $88 million would go to nursing homes and $20 million would be set aside for services for people with developmental disabilities, among other programs and services. 

Missouri voters last year amended the state Constitution to expand Medicaid eligibility, circumventing Republican lawmakers who have long resisted growing the program under former President Barack Obama's health care law.

Smith has said his goal is not setting aside funding for the program expansion, it is to prevent those newly eligible adults from getting health care. 

Democrats denounced the move and argued that lawmakers are now obligated to pay for the health care expansion because of the constitutional amendment. 

Continuing coverage