- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 1, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri’s Republican-controlled Senate has advanced a bill to expand eligibility for persons with disabilities to receive Medicaid.

Senators advanced the bill in a voice vote Tuesday and will vote a second time before it moves to the House.

Currently single Missourians can’t have more than $1,000 in assets to qualify for the federal and state health care program, with married couples capped at $2,000.

Republican Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey’s bill would increase that to $2,000 and $4,000 respectively, with those caps to increase yearly.

The legislation spurred debate between two GOP lawmakers over a larger expansion of the federal health care program.

Republican Sen. Ryan Silvey of Kansas City is one of a few GOP members in support of larger expansion. Party leaders have called it a nonstarter.

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