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Disability Rights Advocates Rally at the Capitol

Disability advocates rallied in Jefferson City today to urge lawmakers to reject Governor Matt Blunt's proposed Medicaid cuts. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

About 70 advocates for the disabled gathered in the capitol'Among them was Damita Thompson.

She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1984 and has been a Medicaid recipient since 1998.

She explains how she felt when she heard about the governor's plan.

Thompson says she would lose coverage if lawmakers approve the governor's Medicaid cuts.

But Governor Matt Blunt says the state can't afford the current Medicaid program.

He says that's why lawmakers should reduce the number of people who are eligible for Medicaid, something that would cut more than one hundred thousand people from the program.

But for some social welfare advocates like Robin Acree, that's not a good reason to cut Medicaid.

She led the rally in the capitol rotunda.

Acree had some harsh words for the governor.

She said the governor is shirking his responsibility and breaking promises.

But Governor Matt Blunt says if lawmakers don't cut Medicaid, the very poorest won't get the kind of care they need.

Blunt's proposed cuts will be debated in the legislature.

Democrats say they'll put up a fight.

Speaking at the disability rally, Democratic Representative Wes Shoemyer said there are other ways to save the state money besides cutting Medicaid eligibility.

Those who support cutting the Medicaid program say Missouri is second only to Tennessee in terms of spending on government-funded healthcare for the poor.