Helping Elderly and Disabled Missourians
The House approved legislation this week that would implement more reasonable asset limits for elderly and disabled Missourians who hope to qualify for Medicaid. Current law allows an individual to have only $1,000 in assets to qualify for Medicaid assistance. A married couple has an asset limit of $2,000. The bill approved by the House would steadily increase these limits to $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a couple by 2021. After that, the limits would continue to increase with the rate of inflation.
The bill received strong bipartisan support on the floor where the sponsor noted that Missouri’s assets limits haven’t changed for more than 40 years. Supporters said the current limits prevent some of Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens from having enough in savings to adequately provide for themselves, or pay for things like emergency car or home repairs.
The bill is similar to SB 322, which received overwhelming approval in the House last year but fell victim to the filibuster that shut down the Senate in the final week of session.
This week, many Missourians seeking public office went to the Secretary of State’s Office to put their name on the ballot. I joined them when I signed up for re-election for State Representative for District 136. It has been my honor to serve you these past couple years and I look forward to this continued service. Please let me know what I can do for you and the district to best serve you.
Filing Day Assistant Majority Floor Leader Representative Kevin Austin
201 W Capitol Ave, Room 302B
Jefferson City, MO 65101 573-751-0232
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office with any questions, comments or concerns you may have.
For more information on House Committees, legislation, and the bill process, please visit: www.house.mo.gov House Budget Committee Announces Cuts to University of Missouri House Budget Chairman Tom Flanigan announced this week that the House Budget Committee would move forward with a spending proposal that makes targeted cuts to funding for the University of Missouri System.
The version of the higher education funding bill introduced by Flanigan has $8,076,196 less in state aid for the University of Missouri System than in the current year’s budget. Flanigan said, “The decision to further reduce appropriations for the system was not made lightly and recent events have proved to Missourians that existing performance measures are not the only indicators of a university’s performance. Furthermore, the General Assembly can and should look beyond traditional indicators in determining how much is appropriated to our universities.” For the FY 2017 budget, the House will not appropriate a lump sum to the system, but will instead budget to seven different lines – University of Missouri – Columbia, University of Missouri – Kansas City, University of Missouri – St. Louis, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Extension, endowed professorships, and the “UM System”.
The reduction proposed by Flanigan will be made in two places. First, UMC’s appropriation is reduced $402,059, or the equivalent of three salaried positions (Dr. Melissa Click’s position, one division chair in communications, and the dean of arts and science).
Second, the reduction in the state appropriation is also targeted to administration. The UM System primarily consists of the board of curators, president’s office and other multi-campus functions and is cut $7,674,137 (approximately half the reported amount for FY16). Flanigan noted that the reductions are not only about Dr. Melissa Click and her actions.
He said, “For several months legislators have had stories relayed to us from current and past students, staff, and faculty of a vast bureaucracy that rivals the Pentagon in terms of red tape and delays. Additionally, appropriators are deeply concerned with the faculty waiver process, how conflicts of interest are addressed, and the inability to terminate employees who participate in conduct unbecoming the University of Missouri and our state. The cuts we have put forward are intended to send a strong message to the administration without harming our students, who deserve better.”
This week, the Missouri House approved legislation to expand the state’s newborn screening requirements to include severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). The bill is meant to save lives and give children diagnosed with SCID an opportunity for a healthy, normal life. Children born with SCID appear normal and healthy until they contract any sort of childhood illness. They then see a shortened life span of approximately one year and spend the majority of that time in a hospital. The key to giving children with SCID a fighting chance is to identify the disorder at birth so that the child can receive a bone marrow transplant. Currently, 34 other states have newborn screening requirements that include SCID. The bill’s sponsor stressed the importance of adding the requirement in Missouri to protect babies from dying from what is now a preventable disease.