The Missouri Senate passed the rest of the state budget Tuesday April 29, after taking care of the first 5 bills on Monday. Democrat Paul LeVota of Independence made an indirect attempt to expand Medicaid. He offered an amendment to create a line item in the Department of Social Services’ budget for extra Medicaid dollars to be drawn down if lawmakers ever decide to expand Medicaid. Republican Kurt Schaefer of Columbia opposed the amendment.
“This is Medicaid expansion…this is very similar to the amendments we saw the other day, this is just the attempt to take the quote, unquote, ‘free money’ for Medicaid expansion and spread it around the budget and say how great the world would be if we just took that free money,” he said.
Schaefer says expanding Medicaid would eventually lead to more dependence on the federal government by the state of Missouri. The state budget now goes back to the Missouri House, and negotiators from both chambers will be appointed to craft a final version of the budget. Lawmakers have to pass Missouri’s budget by May 9th, one week before this year’s session ends.