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House Gives First Round Approval to New Ticket-to-Work Program

The Missouri House gave first round approval today to a bill that restores the ticket-to-work program. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

Last year, Republican lawmakers did away with a program they say had become too expensive.

The program, called ticket-to-work allowed disabled individuals to earn a living while still qualifying for Medicaid coverage.

The House gave first round approval to a bill that the sponsor, St Louis County Republican Chuck Portwood says will provide healthcare to about 32 hundred working, disabled Missourians.

Before approving the measure on a voice vote, House Democrats tried to amend the bill to lower the premium disabled workers at or above the poverty line would have to pay.

Columbia Democrat Judy Baker supported the amendment which changed the premium from 7 point 5 percent of a disabled person's income to 4 percent. She called the higher premium a tax.

The bill sponsor, Representative Chuck Portwood, proposed lowering the premium.

During debate, he warned that a lower premium would cost more and would make the program less viable.

But supporters of lowering the premium argued it would not place a financial burden on the state.

Democratic Representative Maria Chappelle-Nadal of St Louis County offered the amendment to lower the premium.

She says she just wants disabled workers to pay a reasonable premium.

The bill sponsor, Republican Chuck Portwood says a 7 point 5 percent premium is typical in states that have ticket-to-work programs.

On a near party line vote, the House rejected the amendment to lower the premium for working disabled people who are on Medicaid.

The bill that would restore a smaller ticket-to-work program faces a final vote in the House before it moves on to the Senate.