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The Missouri House on Thursday amended SB 217 with an attempt to reverse the cuts to Department of Health and Senior Services providers and keep the level of care for long-term supports and services at 21.

The amendment depends on revenue coming in at a level higher than expected and provides some allowance for Gov. Eric Greitens to do a fund sweep in the supplemental budget in January.

Unfortunately, this solution leaves services 8,000 people hanging in the balance.

The uncertainty of revenue growth and of the General Assembly funding the services in the supplemental budget means that people’s services could be cut off for six months or indefinitely.

It is a good sign that House members are trying to maintain services. However, there is already a solution on the table that works. HCB 3, as amended in the Senate, guarantees no one loses services.

Your strong advocacy has had a great impact with our senators. Now we need to ensure that the House follows suit and passes this vital piece of legislation.

Click here to contact your representative and ask him or her to vote “yes” on HCB 3, as amended. In addition, contact House leadership and ask them to bring HCB 3 to a vote.

HCB 3 replaces the cuts to the “circuit breaker” tax credit with money from a “sweep” of unused funds to fill the Senior Citizen Protection Fund. If the House passes this bill, as amended, the measure will result in the protection of both the circuit breaker tax credit for 100,000 Missouri senior citizens and people with disabilities who rent their home and the Consumer Directed Services program for 8,000 people with disabilities. The Senate vote was 28-5 and was a truly bipartisan effort to save these services that are so important to many Missourians with disabilities.

If HCB 3 passes and the Senior Citizen Protection Fund is funded, level of care for home and community based services will remain at 21 and providers rate cut will go from 3 percent to 1.5 percent. 

While you’re at it, thank your Senator for doing the right thing for senior citizens and people with disabilities by protecting the circuit breaker tax credit.

We will share more information as it becomes available.

Cathy Brown is the Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at Paraquad. She can be reached at cbrown@paraquad.org or on Twitter at @Cathy__Brown.

Photo credit: Danielle Kellogg

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