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Mo. budget panel hears support for Medicaid growth

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 22, 2013 at 5:57 pm •  Published: January 22, 2013

"It is probably something the state should not do at this point," said Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville.

The committee also heard public testimony on education, mental health, disability and other programs for low-income Missourians.

A pair of recovering alcoholics asked for increased funding to substance abuse treatment programs. Enda Barrett, of Cape Girardeau, and Linda Smith, of Macon, both said they would not have been able to hold down jobs and recover if not for state-sponsored treatment programs.

College students asked the committee for larger financial aid packages, including increased support for Access Missouri scholarships, a financial-need-based program for students attending public or private colleges.

Misty Todd, a senior at Westminster College in Fulton, said her Access financial reward was reduced from $3,500 to $2,000 annually during her college career.

More than 30 people testified during Tuesday's hearing. There were no promises that any of them would get their requested funding. But "if you don't ask, you won't get," Rupp said.

House appropriation committees also began hearing presentations from state departments Tuesday. The Senate Appropriations Committee will meet Wednesday to hear more public testimony about transportation, public safety, and state funding for the arts.