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Top state GOP senator hopes to deny Medicaid expansion funds

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri’s top Republican state senator said Thursday that he didn’t want lawmakers to pay for government health care for thousands of newly eligible low-income adults.

Missouri voters amended the state Constitution last year to extend eligibility for Medicaid to thousands more low-income adults under former President Barack Obama’s national health care law.

But Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, whose District 26 includes Franklin and west St. Louis counties, told reporters that voters had not gotten to weigh in on how to fund the expansion.

“Without that, I’m not advocating that we would fund Medicaid expansion,” Schatz said. “I think if voters had the opportunity to choose – given all the information – I don’t believe they would have overwhelmingly passed Medicaid expansion, because the costs have to come from somewhere.”

The GOP-led state House passed last week a budget proposal that doesn’t include money to pay for health care for the newly eligible adults once the program kicks in July 1.

The House’s lawmaker in charge of crafting the budget has said he hopes the move will prevent the state from providing those health care services.

Lawmakers have until May to finalize a budget proposal and send it to Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, who included funding for Medicaid expansion in his budget request to lawmakers this year.

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