(AP) – A proposed state budget passed Thursday by the Missouri House would increase education spending but provide no money to expand Medicaid eligibility or give state employees a pay raise.
The more than $26 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 now moves to the Senate.
Expansion for Medicaid eligibility, although not included in the budget, dominated debate between the Republican supermajority and Democrats.
GOP House and Senate leaders repeatedly rejected calls from Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and members of his party to expand Medicaid eligibility to as many as 300,000 low-income adults under the terms of President Barack Obama’s health care law. An expansion could bring Missouri about $2 billion annually of additional federal Medicaid funding.
But Republican lawmakers haven’t “taken the bait,” said Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob. He said expanding Medicaid could cost the state more money once full federal funding of the program stops in 2016 and states are responsible for paying for a portion of the expenses, eventually 10 percent.