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Disabled Citizens Stage Protest

Eight individuals in wheelchairs chained their chairs to the doors leading into the Missouri House of Representatives to protest Medicaid cuts. They say they wanted to talk to Governor Matt Blunt. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

That was the sound of disabled Missourians and advocates as the rallied in the halls of the capitol one day after Missouri's Governor Matt Blunt signed legislation that cuts nearly 100 thousand people off Medicaid.

Capitol Police used bolt cutters to remove the chain.

But the group then formed a human chain that blocked the hallway for two and a half hours.

The group eventually left without getting to talk to Governor Matt Blunt but the organizer of the demonstration, John Loyd says they'll be back.

Loyd is affiliated with Show-Me ADAPT, which stands for American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today.

While the group didn't get a meeting with the governor, the governor's spokesman Spence Jackson did comment on the demonstration.

He says Matt Blunt is pleased to see a group that's engaged in the process but he says the demonstration doesn't change the governor's belief that Medicaid cuts are necessary to balance the budget and fund education.

Several state representatives did venture into the hallway outside the House chamber to see the demonstration.

Among them, Democratic Representative Barbara Fraser.

Some GOP House members also came into the hall to witness the demonstration.

Republican Representative Jim Avery is a member of the Missouri National Guard who came back to the U-S only weeks ago after a tour of duty in Iraq.

He says he appreciates what the protestors are doing.

Avery and most of his Republican colleagues voted for the bill that the protestors oppose.

He says he's not sure all the people who took part in the protest would actually lose Medicaid coverage under the legislation that lawmakers passed and the governor signed into law.

House Speaker Rod Jetton says he's sympathetic to the plight of the protestors.

But he says he's not sure any of them will be impacted by the cuts.

But Democratic Representative Barbara Fraser says it doesn't matter whether or not the people who are protesting are going to lose coverage.

One of the protestors was Frank Bruner, a retiree whose 24-year-old stepson is a quadriplegic.

Bruner says his family will lose money because of the Medicaid cuts lawmakers approved and the governor signed into law.

The governor's spokesman Spence Jackson says the legislation Matt Blunt signed leaves the majority of Medicaid recipients in the program.

He says the governor simply wants a program that state can afford.

The organizers of Wednesday's protest say they'll be back but didn't say if they would use the same tactics in the future.