Gov. Jay Nixon is calling on the Missouri House to restore health care funding for blind people after a committee voted last week to cut the program from next year’s budget.
The proposed cuts would save the state 28 million dollars – money that would go to filling a gap in higher education funding.
"This is a very needy group," Governor Nixon told a crowd in Columbia. "Often times folks that have sight-impairment have other things going on that are also significant health challenges."
The program pays for health care for over 2000 blind people who don’t qualify for Medicaid. Representative Ryan Silvey, who chairs the House budget committee, says since there is no income cap to qualify for the program, those benefiting aren’t necessarily the state’s neediest.
"Someone could literally be making $100,000 a year, live in a home that they own themselves, and still qualify for this program," says Silvey.
Governor Nixon says if the full House approves the cuts, he’ll work with the Senate to restore funding.
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