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Medicaid Coverage Initiative Considered

October 19, 2005
By: Bente Birkeland
State Capital Bureau

A new ballot initiative proposes a state-wide vote to restore Medicaid benefits to thousands of Missourians. Bente (Bent teh) Birkeland has more from Jefferson City.

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Grass Roots Organizing or GRO, a welfare advocacy non-profit filed the petition. It would give more Missourians Medicaid benefits by changing the income requirement for the elderly and disabled. GRO's Daniel Krehbiel helped put the initiative together.

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" The legislators are making us all more vulnerable to sickness and death by cutting up the health services before there is a plan to replace them."

G-R-O needs between 139 and 150 thousand signatures

before their initiative can go on the Nov. 2006 ballot.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Bente Birkeland.

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A welfare advocacy group launched a campaign to restore Medicaid benefits to elderly and disabeled Missourians. Bente (BEN-ta) Birkeland has more from Jefferson City.

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Grass Roots Organizing or GRO, filed an initiative to prevent the state from ending Medicaid in 2008. The state cut more than 90,000 people from Medicaid when it lowered the income requirements for eligibility, last legislative session. GRO Director, Robin Acree says the initiative was a grass roots effort.

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" What we did find out by being out in the community is that the people who are being effected by these cuts wanted something to be done, wanted some hope because they plan to end the program by 2008 without a plan."

But the Republican senate floor leader Charlie Shields says the state's Medicaid program is broken and G-R-O's ballot initiative won't fix the problem.

Reporting from the state Capital, I'm Bente Birkeland.

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The state's senate floor leader says a ballot initiative that would restore Medicaid benefits won't work. Bente (BEN ta) Birkeland has more from Jefferson City.

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A welfare advocacy group, Grass Roots Organizing filed a petition to restore Medicaid coverage to thousands of Missourians. The initiative would change the income eligibilty requirement. The state cut 90,000 people from Medicaid last legislative session in an effort to reform the progam.

Republican Charlie Fields is the Senate Floor leader. Shields says the state did what it had to do.

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" I would be a little be leary of anybody claiming that they can solve the Medicaid system by a ballot initiative because I think it's much, much more complicated than that."

Grass Roots Organizing, will need to get between 139 thousand and 150 thousand signatures before the initiative can go on the November 2006 ballot.

Reporting from the state Capital, I'm Bente Birkeland.