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Effort underway for special session on disabled program

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – Advocates for the disabled and some Missouri lawmakers are asking for a special legislative session to return health benefits to the working disabled.

The Ticket to Work program was dismantled last year as part of sweeping Medicaid cuts. It had guaranteed Medicaid coverage for low-income disabled people who work.

Representative Charles Portwood says the money for the program has been appropriated, but legislators weren't able to pass the bill before the session ended.

Right now the system is set up so that if you're disabled and you work, you immediately lose all your health care benefits, Portwood said. The system is broken and we tried to fix it.

Portwood (R, Ballwin) says the program will affect about 4,000 people and will cost about $20 million annually.

A spokesman for the governor said he has no plans to call a special session for any issue but the topic could be addressed next year.