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Mo. Senate endorses expanded health coverage

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By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – The State Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would expand health coverage for about 35,000 low-income Missourians.

The bill is meant as an alternative to Governor Jay Nixon's plan to expand Medicaid for parents earning up to 50 percent of the federal poverty level.

It's sponsored by State Senator Tom Dempsey (R, St. Charles). His plan would cover the same number of people at first, but would expand coverage to more people later on.

State Senator Joan Bray (D, St. Louis) says it's not the plan she prefers, but it's better than nothing.

"The bill in total, at least it shows that someone's thinking about providing health care for the uninsured in Missouri...I think in some ways there's more bureaucracy (in Dempsey's plan) than (there) needs to be," Bray said.

The bill needs one more Senate vote to move over to the Missouri House, which left Governor Nixon's health care expansion out of the state budget.

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