[Nfbmo] Fw: [Missouri-l] Medicaid
freespirit at accessibleworld.org
Fri Feb 17 13:49:29 UTC 2012
This issue is important for all of us.
From: Denny Huff
Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 7:34 AM
To: ew at moblind.org
Subject: [Missouri-l] Medicaid
JEFFERSON CITY • A $28 million Medicaid program for the blind would be eliminated and the money shifted to higher education under a recommendation made
by a Missouri House appropriations committee today.
The proposal, which now goes to the House Budget Committee, is apt to cause a political stir. Even former Gov. Matt Blunt's 2005 Medicaid cuts didn't touch
aid for the blind, who have been covered under a special part of Missouri's Medicaid program since at least 1967.
The amendment was offered by Rep. Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage and chairman of the House Health, Mental Health and Social Services Appropriations Committee.
No mention was made at the meeting that the special health care program for the blind would end. The amendment was worded in a technical fashion, citing
dollars and page numbers. When asked by Rep. Jeanne Kirkton, D-Webster Groves, to explain the impact, Flanigan declined.
"It was like a kangaroo court," Kirkton said later.
The Post-Dispatch could not reach Flanigan for comment. He told the Columbia Daily Tribune that his goal was to shift about $65 million from the social
services budget to higher education.
In addition to cutting the program for the blind, Flanigan's amendment cut about $12 million from subsidized child care and lesser amounts from other social
Combined with $40 million from a national mortgage settlement that Gov. Jay Nixon wants to use on higher education, the savings from social services would
allow the Legislature to reinstate this year's level of funding for the state's public colleges and universities.
Because the blind aren't held to income standards, the state can't draw federal matching funds for their care. The state picks up the entire health care
tab for about 2,858 people on the Blind Pension Fund and Supplemental Aid to the Blind.
Deborah Greider, a St. Louis attorney who represents the Missouri Council of the Blind, said the proposed budget cut "would be a terrible dilemma for these
vulnerable people, to be left with no ready access to medical care."
The budget amendment does not change the monthly cash benefits - called pensions -- distributed to people who are at least 18 years old and are totally
blind. That money comes from a small statewide property tax.
is the Post-Dispatch Jefferson City bureau chief. For updates on Missouri politics and the legislative session, follow her on Twitter
Denny Huff- President
Missouri Council of the Blind
P: (636) 262-1383
TF: (888) 362-1383
F: (314) 558-0298
Phone Cast: (816) 298-8969
DHuff at MoBlind.Org
The purpose of Missouri Council of the Blind shall be to promote the general well-being of our members and legally blind people in Missouri, and to support
or participate in other programs promoting the best interests of legally blind people everywhere.
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