The Missouri Legislature hopes to find a funding solution for about 8,000 disabled Missourians in need of nursing home and in-home care. Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors, says there’s no reason why lawmakers cannot find a reasonable fix this session.
“If we get to work on it now and people have been working on this since last session,” says Walsh. “There’s an urgency to fix it. We are not under the gun like we were last year. Right now we have 15 weeks to get this completed before the budget has to be finished.”
A state report has found that very few of those individuals have lost such care through Medicaid, although the cuts haven’t been in place for long. Of the roughly 8,000 elderly and disabled Missourians in question, about 35 no longer qualify for the services.
During the final minutes of last year’s legislative session, lawmakers struck a deal on funding the services but Governor Greitens vetoed the bill by saying it would jeopardize programs for child abuse and neglect prevention, workers compensation and emergency responder training. Greitens said moving $34 million from various state funds to pay for the care is a “budget gimmick” and a “fake fix to a real problem”.
One opponent of the governor’s move, Deb Lavender, D-Kirkwood, fired back and said the legislature would never put those programs at risk. She said Greitens’ decision will cost the state more money by forcing vulnerable Missourians to use emergency rooms and nursing homes sooner.