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Politics

House Debates and Approves Medicaid Budget

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/housedebat_1104.mp3

Lawmakers nearly finished their work Tuesday on the state's $20.8 billion operating budget. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

The deadline for finishing the budget is Friday...But lawmakers spent much of Tuesday discussing and voting on the budget, which is a compromise crafted last week after the House and Senate had passed their own versions of the budget.

Some lawmakers complained that the budget fails to restore the Medicaid cuts Republicans approved last year.

Democratic Representative Margaret Donnelly of St Louis County.

But most Republicans say they had to act last year to rein in the Medicaid program.

Republican Representative Allen Icet is chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Springfield Republican Representative Bob Dixon says the budget goes a long way toward making sure the disabled and children have the services they need.

Dixon says he's especially excited about funding in the budget for a new program in Springfield.

Despite the funding for the crisis nursery in Springfield and wheelchair batteries, some Democrats say the budget falls far short of meeting the needs of the state's most vulnerable.

Democratic Representative Yaphett El-Amin represents portions of St Louis City.

She says the social services budget in essence will starve some people of the medical services and assistance they need to live.

And it wasn't just democrats who had concerns...one Republican, Representative Robert Schaaf, a physician says the budget doesn't provide enough reimbursement for doctors who see Medicaid patients.

Lawmakers have until Friday to finish the budget.