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Parties clash over House health care bills

March 15, 2006
By: John Amick
State Capital Bureau
Links: HB 1001-1013

JEFFERSON CITY - Members of the Missouri House yesterday casted the first official votes on health care appropriations bills since last year's Medicaid cuts.

The Republican majority won out on all of the bills after spirited debate on both sides of the aisle preceded the votes.

Democrats pleaded for the restoration of some of last year's Medicaid cuts, claiming that despite having the resources to revive some of the cuts the body refuses.

"It is our responsibility to see to it that our citizens' basic needs are met," said Rep. Judy Baker, D-Columbia, on the House floor. "When are we going to tend to those basic needs?"

Rep. Charles Portwood, R-Ballwin, disagreed, saying that the legislature's actions have always kept Missouri citizens' best interests in mind.

"This legislature has appropriated over $50 million above what the Governor has recommended," Portwood said. "We are doing what we need to do to help seniors, to help the poor."

Referring to SB 1011, which would have given more money to the Dept. of Social Services under the Democrats' plan, Rep. Margaret Donnelly, D-St. Louis, said the bill was pathetic under Republican control and that the majority party simply refuses to do better.

"Around 97,000 people still don't havce health insurance because of the cuts (to Medicaid) last year," she said. "Even if we have the money, we won't spend it."

Rep. Allen Icet, R-Wildwood, said the issue goes back to the taxpayers.

"It's up to us to think about the taxpayers in our own districts when voing," Icet said.