A bill to restore health care to more than 4,000 disabled Missouri workers has breezed through the House and heads to the Senate, a third try to restore a program cut two years ago.
Rep. Charles Portwood (R-Ballwin) has been disappointed before, seeing his attempt to resurrect a scaled down version of the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD) program fail twice. Portwood tells the body during House floor debate that he doesn’t see the obstacles this year that have been the problem before. Portwood’s bill, HB 39 , re-names the program Ticket to Work. It would cover those receiving up to 350% of the federal poverty level at a cost of $10-point-6 million to the state, well under the cost of the old MAWD program.
Portwood has a hard time convincing House Minority Leader Jeff Harris (D-Columbia) that the delay was beneficial. He says bill improved over the two-year delay, with changes made that covers about 1,500 more people. Harris replies that those disabled workers who lost health insurance weren’t better off. The legislature eliminated the MAWD program two years ago during the Medicaid cuts. A clash between House and Senate leaders doomed the bill last year.