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As state lawmakers convened in Jefferson City Wednesday for the first day of the 2014 session, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called for the reauthorization of the Missouri Rx program during a stop in Springfield. KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports.
Nixon says his balanced budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2015 will include $23.7 million to continue to program, which provides prescription drug assistance to low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities. The program, which currently enrolls more than 227,000 Missourians, is set to expire in late August. Lawmakers reauthorized the program three years ago.
“This is one of those key, clear priorities – to make sure we continue a program that’s working, that’s cost effective, that’s an important lifeline for Missouri seniors,” Nixon said.
Established in 2006, Missouri Rx works with Medicare Part D plans to lower the out-of-pocket expenses eligible seniors and individuals with disabilities pay for prescription drugs, paying 50 percent of all out-of-pocket costs for covered medications, including deductible and co-payments.
This year’s session is also expected to include a revival of issues from last year like Medicaid expansion, which the Democratic Governor has again requested after failing to win approval in 2013, plus bills pushed through by the Republican-controlled Legislature that Nixon vetoed, like income tax cuts and gun rights.
“I don’t start a legislative session saying, ‘Wow, what bills are out there that these guys are working on that I can veto?’ That just seems counterproductive. I try to think at the beginning of the session about what can we do to bring people together to pass measures that will improve lives, and while at the same time maintaining our strict fiscal discipline and focusing in education and other areas where we can build a workforce for the future.”
Nixon will detail additional legislative priorities during his annual State of the State Address, scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 21.