Advocates for the mentally and physically disabled are urging Missouri lawmakers to expand access to the Medicaid health care program.
Tuesday marked the first day of public testimony for an interim Senate committee studying potential Medicaid changes in advance of next year's legislative session.
Many of the initial witnesses supported an expansion of adult Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty level as allowed under President Barack Obama's health care law. But Missouri's Republican-led Legislature defeated similar proposals earlier this year.
Republican senators said Tuesday that they were looking for ways to improve the Medicaid system, not just enlarge it.
Some who testified said Missouri should relax its asset limitations for disabled people to qualify or exempt mental health services from managed care contracts.