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New compromise reached on Mo. budget bill

Missouri State Capitol.
Missouri State Capitol.

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – An alternate plan to expand Medicaid coverage was agreed to tonight by budget negotiators, after the Missouri House rejected a budget bill containing the original agreement.

The new compromise removes the Medicaid expansion from the Department of Social Services funding bill.

In exchange, House Republican leaders have pledged to back a Senate bill that would also add 35,000 working parents to the Medicaid rolls.

But Majority Floor Leader Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) says it may not be an easy sell.

"I believe the Speaker has placed it on the calendar and my intentions are to go to it...but I think our caucus spoke pretty loudly when they didn't want to expand the eligibility for able-bodied adults," Tilley said.

Despite signing off on the agreement, Democratic budget negotiators expressed concerns over whether the Senate bill to expand health coverage will pass.

State Senator Joan Bray (D, St. Louis) is one of the negotiators who signed off on the compromise.

"We're keeping it alive, some hope for these working poor people to get health care coverage...I'm just concerned that with seven days left in the session that we have time to do what needs to be done," Bray said.

Meanwhile, the Missouri House is expected to take up the Social Services budget bill on Thursday, now that the Medicaid expansion has been removed.