- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The House has voted to send a supplemental budget bill to the Senate that calls for nearly $500 million more in spending this year.

Lawmakers voted 139-7 Thursday to approve the adjustment to Missouri’s current $26 billion budget. Most of the new spending will go to Medicaid, which the state is legally required to fund.

Higher drug prices have been the biggest factor driving costs, and caseload has also grown.

House Speaker Todd Richardson said the current trend of Medicaid growth will bankrupt the state. He said lawmakers have been working on solutions, pointing to a proposal to hire a private company to find waste and fraud in Missouri’s Medicaid and welfare programs.

Democrats said the state would shoulder fewer costs if Republicans accept federal funds to expand Medicaid.

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