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Morning headlines: Monday, February 27, 2012


State officials: Mo. tightening Medicaid eligibility criteria

Low-income seniors and the disabled can qualify for Medicaid, even if their income is higher than the program's limits. They can do so by making a monthly payment to the state or by spending their excess income on medical bills.

State officials say that, in some cases, staff was incorrectly crediting a patient's entire medical bill toward his or her monthly total, even if Medicaid or private insurance had paid part of it. That might have made it easier for the seniors to be eligible for Medicaid, even though they weren't qualified.

An official with the Department of Social Services says the state will have the problem corrected by May.

Ill. lawmakers consider ban on crib bumper pads

Backers of the legislation say the bumper pads have suffocated and strangled infants.

Giovan Cullotta lost his daughter to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. He testified about the dangers of crib pads at an Illinois House committee the day after the fifth anniversary of her death.

Cullotta says parents typically use the pads to keep kids from bumping their heads or getting their limbs tangled.

"I can guarantee you, as a parent who misses their child every single day that I would rather  kiss my kid with their bumped head, than to go visit a cemetery, like I did yesterday," said Cullotta.

Members of the committee were sympathetic. But baby products are big business, and there is opposition.

Breathable Baby sells a mesh liner that's meant to be a safe alternative to the pads.

The company is concerned the proposed ban could outlaw its product as well.  The company says with no alternative on store shelves, unsuspecting parents would be forced into using dangerous hand-me-down pads.

Some legislators are concerned the proposal could trap unsuspecting individuals, like someone selling a pad at a garage sale.

Plane makes emergency landing at Lambert after hitting bird

A Denver-bound Frontier Airlines flight had to make an emergency landing in St. Louis after colliding with at least one bird.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Frontier flight 297 left Lambert-St. Louis International Airport a little after 6 o’clock Sunday morning. The scheduled two-hour flight was cut short just minutes later when the plane struck the bird. The aircraft landed safely at Lambert, but passengers had to be transferred to another Frontier plane because the first one sustained damage.

A federal "wildlife strike" database shows Sunday's incident was the fourth one at the St. Louis airport this year.

The Federal Aviation Administration says 23 people have been killed and 209 injured nationwide since 1990 due to wildlife strikes on aircraft.