- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Republican-led Missouri House has rejected a Democratic attempt to expand the state’s Medicaid health care program for the poor.

Democrats on Tuesday sought to include funding for Medicaid expansion in the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Supporters argue the expansion would improve health care access for low-income Missourians and note the federal government would pick up the cost for the first two years.

The Republican-led Legislature has repeatedly rejected Medicaid expansion proposals during the past two years. Many have cited concerns about the potential long-term costs to the state.

Missouri’s Medicaid program currently covers about 830,000 people at an annual cost of about $9 billion.

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