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Mo. House passes budget

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri House has passed the state budget for Fiscal Year 2010.

That includes the Social Services bill that was initially voted down Wednesday, because it contained an expansion of Medicaid.

Budget negotiators then agreed to remove the item, in exchange for backing a separate Senate bill that would also provide health care for 35,000 working adults.

State Representative Ed Emery (R, Lamar) supported the compromise.

"Are the numbers going in the right direction? And if they're not, then it isn't going to be a question of whether we should spend more money alone, it should be a question of results...what is it going to take to get results, and then the question of how much funding will be required for that approach," Emery said.

But House Democrats maintained that the Medicaid expansion in the House budget would have literally cost nothing. Funding would have come from Washington and from an increase in the state's hospital tax.

State Representative Jeff Roorda (D, Barnhart) scoffed at calling the new proposal a compromise.

"It's a dirty deal done dirt cheap, and there's no reason in the world that Missourians, or House Democrats, or anyone with any common sense, should trust the Republican leadership in this House to deliver health care policy," Roorda said during floor debate.

House Majority Floor Leader Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) has pledged to bring up the Senate bill that provides the same amount of coverage before the session ends next week.