Lawmakers to continue to provide funding for blind pension program

May 10, 2012

Missouri budget negotiators have agreed to keep a program that provides health coverage for the blind, but they've also attempted to attach some strings.

A House and Senate conference committee decided Wednesday to provide $25 million in cash to the blind health care program.

Negotiators agreed to limit the program to those earning up to three times the federal poverty level, or about $33,500 annually for an individual. They also agreed to require premiums from those earning over 150 percent of the poverty level.

A spokesman for Governor Jay Nixon said later Wednesday that the eligibility limits are invalid, because they are only contained in a budget bill and don't change state law. The governor's office says it will ensure the program serves all 2,800 people who depend on it.