First-things-first….says a coaltion of groups…that wants the legislature to make health care and the restoration of services to people kicked off the Medicaid program to be the top priority of the Governor and legislature this year. The coalition of health care advocacy groups, unions, Medicaid recipients, and budget-study organizations plans to circulate petitions urging the governor and the legislature to restore healthcare coverage to 100-thousand people who lost it in the medicaid cuts of 2005, guarantee affordable health care for 600-thousand other people who don’t have it, and forget about giving tax cuts until the health care issue is solved. Columbia resident Bob Pund says he’s a victim of the Medicaid cuts two years ago. He lost his job because the program providing his health insurance was killed. He says any discussion of tax cuts by lawmakers is wrong because those who lost their health care coverage in 2005 should get it back first. The Missouri Budget Project’s Ruth Ehresman says it’s unconscionable to think Medicaid can be reformed without paying attention to the effects of the 2005 program cuts. She says, “All low income individuals and vulnerable individuals…deserve better, not just those whose incomes happen to be below the arbitraty and harsh eligibility level that was enacted in 2005.” The petition campaign will last for the rest of the month.