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The House version of a prescription drug plan for the elderly passes

September 10, 2001
By: Cara Karunaratne
State Capital Bureau

The Missouri House passes a bill that establishes a prescription drug program for seniors and expands Medicaid to a large number of elderly and disabled.

Cara Karunaratne has more from Jefferson City.

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The bill was passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority....though it comes with a hefty price tag.

Though the bill repeals an existing 100 million dollar tax credit, the state will spend more than 120 million dollars on the new plan in its first full year of implementation.

And many lawmakers, including St. Louis County representative Charles Portwood, say that many of their constituents will be upset that the new program does not help them out.

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Contents: Rep. Charles Portwood, R-St. Louis County, says he will take a big hit from his constituents for voting to repeal the existing tax credit.

Some Republicans object to the costs of the program...costs that come in the same year as more than 400 million dollars of budget cuts by the governor.

But they privately say it would be political suicide to vote against the bill.

Under the new prescription drug plan, the state would cover 60 percent of eligible senior citizens' drug costs.

From Jefferson City, Cara Karunaratne, KMOX News.