Petitioners Ask for More
The group gathered 10,000 names on a petition asking for the state to restore Medicaid cuts made two years ago. The effort might affect the current health care bill going through the legislature.
There are 12 days until the end of the legislative session, and health care is a concern that's still on the minds of Missourians like Melanie Shouse.
"If I earned up to even as little as $300 a month, I will no longer be considered eligible for Medicaid, so the eligibility guidelines in Missouri are one of the strictest in the nation and just completely out of line with reality," Shouse said.
Members of the 'First Things First' campaign brought the petition to a hearing on Wednesday to help put thousands of Missourians back on Medicaid before a bill goes to the House next week.
The Missouri HealthNet Bill is restructuring the current Medicaid system, but so far it still does not restore benefits to those cut off Medicaid in 2005.
"We can restore health care for all those folks, and we can do it without a tax increase because the money is there, but unfortunately the governor just doesn't agree," Democratic Representative Jeff Harris said.
Harris said with so little time left, it's just poor planning, but Republicans said the new HealthNet system is trying to meet the same goals of delivering better health care.
"Our goal is to reduce the number of uninsured. Some people want to do that entirely through the Medicaid system, I don't believe that is appropriate, I think we can do that by offering incentives to small businesses, so I think the goals are the same things," Republican Senator Charlie Shields said.
The bill is likely to go to the House floor late next week.
'First Things First' said it will continue its campaign through December.