Thousands of disabled workers in Missouri might be able to keep their jobs and their public health care coverage under a bill moving to the House for debate. Now called Ticket to Work, it would replace the old Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD) program cut in 2005. Representative Charles Portwood (R-Ballwin) sponsors the measure. Portwood says the old program ballooned out of control, costing $250 million, covering 17,000, many of whom did little work to earn full benefits. He tells a House committee that under the old MAWD program the spouse of a disabled worker could earn $100,000 a year with the worker earning an additional $30,000 and the disabled worker would still qualify for publicly funded health care. Portwood says his bill caps total household income to qualify at $46,200 a year. The program is estimated to cost a total of $28 million, with the federal government picking up much of the tab and the state paying $10.6 million. Ticket to Work is expected to cover 4,100 disabled Missourians, some of whom had to quit their jobs to keep Medicaid coverage. That’s not a minor decision says Wayne Lee with the Epilepsy Education Organization. Lee says with passage of the bill, people will be provided with the opportunity to climb the ladder of success. Another major aspect of the bill is that it will allow employees of Sheltered Workshops to keep their jobs and keep their Medicaid coverage. The House committee has approved the bill and sent it to the full House for debate.

Related web sites:
HB 39, Ticket to Work

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