Nixon vetoes bill he says would penalize low-income families

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JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a bill this week he argues "would impose new penalties and fees on low-income families, the aged, blind and disabled who participate in Medicaid." Senate Bill 608, sponsored by Republican Sen. David Sater, R-Barry County, seeks to provide further restrictions to Medicaid, a hotly contested issue in the Show-Me-State. 

Nixon argues the bill would impose unfair penalty fees for missed appointments and could increase fees for emergency room visits that are retrospectively declared non-emergency. Nixon also said those living in extreme poverty may not have as much access to transportation, or the ability to take off work, and may not have access to phones or email.

Tom Pauley, a Democrat running for the 44th district said he supported Nixon's decision.

"This is the poorest of the poor, these are the people who are already on Medicaid," he said.

Pauley particularly stressed concerns over the mounting fees that are incurred to Medicaid users who miss appointments over a three year period.

"The first one is five dollars, the second one is 10 dollars, the third is 15, and then 20," he said.

Madison Neebe, a stay-at-home single mother of two daughters said, as a Medicaid user, budgeting is difficult.

"I only bring in about 600 dollars a month, for the three of us and even 20 dollars is quite a lot," she said. 

Neighboring states that have decided to expand Medicaid include: Illinois, Kentucky, Arkansas and Iowa.

Kansas, Nebraska and Tennessee have opted out. That decision results in these states, like Missouri, turning down billions of dollars in federal funding.

In Missouri, a single parent with two children can make no more than  an estimated $3,600 in a year to qualify for Medicaid according to Nixon. 

Other contested bills that Nixon vetoed include: Senate Bill 656 which if passed would allow Missourians to carry a weapon and shoot anyone at anytime and anywhere if they feel threatened. Nixon also vetoed House Bill 1631, a voter I.D. bill that attempts to tackle voter fraud. Nixon has vetoed 22 bills in total.