Senators trim Medicaid spending in mid-year budget increase

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ State senators have trimmed about $28 million of Medicaid spending from a mid-year increase to Missouri’s budget.

The Senate appropriations committee on Tuesday lowered the planned funding boosts for Medicaid’s hospital care, medicine and physician services. Most of the nearly $500 million supplemental budget would still go to health care for people with low incomes.

The adjustment to Missouri’s current $26 billion budget reflects higher health care costs than officials estimated last year. Growing drug prices has been the biggest factor driving costs, and caseloads have also increased.

The state is legally required to fund Medicaid, but many Republicans say the program is growing at an unsustainable rate. The Senate’s lead budget writer, Kurt Schaefer, has said Missouri needs more flexibility from the federal government to hold down costs.

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