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Nixon Focuses On Medicaid, Holds Comments On Same-Sex Marriage

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon (at right) speaks with Paraquad CEO Aimee Wehmeier in Kirkwood, Mo. on March 26, 2013. Nixon was in Kirkwood speaking to community leaders about expansion of Medicaid.

A GOP plan for Medicaid expansion in the Missouri House would add fewer adults to the plan than the one Governor Jay Nixon has proposed. But during a stop in Kirkwood Tuesday, the Democrat praised the progress in the Republican-controlled House.

Under the Affordable Care Act, states have to expand the Medicaid requirement to 138 percent of the poverty line in order to accept the federal funds that go with it.

Currently in Missouri, those making an income of less than $4,5000 a year for a family of four qualify.

Republicans have consistently rejected Medicaid expansion, but recently offered up a different plan that would take in the federal funds while only going to 100 percent of the poverty line -- something legal experts say will not pass muster.

But Nixon says it’s a step in the right direction.

“Do I have some issues with some portions of the bill? Yeah," Nixon said. "Am I willing to work together? Absolutely. And will we work together to get reform? I think yes.”

Nixon added that there is still plenty of time left in the legislative session to work out a compromise.

"138 is what the federal government has said you need to have," Nixon said, when asked by reporters if 100 percent of the poverty line would cut it. "But there's a lot of ways to get to 138 -- you can put some of these dollars through an exchange, for example, so that folks could go to a marketplace, like the way Arkansas did it."

After discussing Medicaid expansion with reporters after the speech, Nixon was reluctant to discuss his stance on same sex marriage. Missouri’s other high profile Democrat, Senator Claire McCaskill, announced on Sunday that her views have changed, and that she is now against the government limiting who has the right to marry. 

“We’re here to talk about Medicaid. We’ll let those arguments go, there’ll be plenty of other opportunities to talk about those important issues in the coming months. Let’s let the court case get heard,” Nixon said.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel

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